Obama says Guantanamo won't be closed on deadline

The president says the controversial detention facility won't be shuttered by January

Published November 18, 2009 6:26PM (EST)

The deadline that President Obama set for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay always seemed ambitious. The haphazard way his administration has gone about it made the task even more difficult, and now Obama himself has acknowledged the inevitable: The prison will not close by January, as he'd wanted it to.

Obama made the admission during an interview with Fox News' Major Garrett on Wednesday. He said he still wants the facility closed sometime next year, and that he's "not disappointed" with the blown deadline, because he "knew this was going to be hard."

"I'm not going to set an exact date because a lot of this is also going to depend on cooperation from Congress," Obama said.

Stretching this out into the middle or end of next year would likely mean another missed deadline -- it's going to be politically difficult to finish the closure when vulnerable Democrats are worrying about the midterm elections, and when they are also talking about al-Qaida suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed being brought to the U.S. for trial.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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