(WASHINGTON) — In his first run for the White House, President Obama said that one of his first priorities would be to close down the U.S. Navy detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, housing suspected terrorists from overseas.
More than four years later, the facility known as Gitmo remains open with trouble brewing as dozens of the detainees are in the midst of a hunger strike to protest what they claim is poor treatment by guards at a run-down facility.
Obama said at a press conference Tuesday that he remains committed to shuttering the detention center, which he argues has long outlived its purpose and only makes a bad situation even worse as the U.S. tries to figure out what do with former enemy combatants who’ve not been tried.
He said keeping the facility open is “contrary to our interests. And it needs to stop.”
When asked what his next course of action is, the president said, “I have asked my team to review everything that is currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I am going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that is in the best interests of the American people.”
According to Obama, Gitmo is the poster child for everything wrong with the ongoing war on terror because it has damaged the nation’s standing in the world and continues to provide terrorist groups with a recruitment tool.
However, many in Congress are opposed to having the detainees brought to the U.S., saying it would leave communities open to retaliatory strikes wherever the prisoners might be held.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Mohammed Tawfeeq, Joe Sterling and Susanna Capelouto, CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Gul Tuysuz, CNN
David Williams, CNN
Billy Hallowell, Deseret News