WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The American Civil Liberties Union says President Obama has already failed in his second term.
The ACLU is calling out Obama for signing the “National Defense Authorization Act” which keeps the military prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay open.
“President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day,” Anthony Romero, ACLU’s executive director, said in a press release. “His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended.”
Obama previously promised that he would close Guantanamo Bay, but faced backlash for wanting to move suspected terrorists to federal detention facilities in the United States.
Romero says this act will keep suspects unfairly detained for at least another year.
“The president should use whatever discretion he has in the law to order many of the detainees transferred home, and finally step up next year to close Guantanamo and bring a definite end to indefinite detention,” Romero explained in the statement.
There are currently 166 prisoners remaining at Gitmo.
In a statement, the president said he does not support all the sections in the act he signed and agreed that Gitmo needs to be shut down.
“The Congress designed these sections, and has here renewed them once more, in order to foreclose my ability to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. I continue to believe that operating the facility weakens our national security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with key allies, and strengthening our enemies,” Obama said.
The Bush administration began using Guantanamo Bay in 2002 to hold suspected terrorists following the 9/11 attacks.