President-elect Barack Obama plans to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay as early as his first week in office to show a break from the Bush administration's approach to the war on terror, according to two officials close to the transition.
One of the officials said it would be in keeping with Obama's campaign promise to shut down the prison through executive order, a move which was also pushed by last year's Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.
"The president-elect has repeatedly said the legal framework at Gitmo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists," said one of the officials close to the transition, who was not authorized to speak publicly about private deliberations.
Such a move would reassure those concerned after Obama's recent public comments suggested he may not immediately shut the prison down.
"It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication," Obama said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday when asked whether he would close the prison in his first 100 days.
Obama also said he was trying to develop a process that "adheres to rule of law" but "doesn't result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up."