Surprise! Gitmo report delayed


There will be no report from either of the two task forces set up by the Administration to figure out what to do about the detention center at Guantanamo as well as how to proceed with the detainees there.

The deadline, according to Newsweek's Michael Isikoff's source has slipped "a few months."

The postponement of the two reports is sure to raise fresh questions about whether Obama will be able to shut down Guantánamo by next January as he pledged immediately after taking office. While publicly saying they remain committed to next January's deadline, officials privately acknowledge that a host of political and diplomatic problems-including the reluctance of foreign countries to accept detainees and fierce opposition from members of Congress to moving them to the United States-has made closing the facility far more daunting than they had anticipated.

Three administration officials familiar with the process said the detention task force, which is jointly run by aides to Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, did agree that the Obama administration should continue to claim the right to hold some Guantánamo inmates indefinitely as "combatants" under the "laws of war,"  without charging them either in criminal courts or in military commissions. That proposal is sure to prove controversial among human-rights groups, which say any such "indefinite detention" violates civil liberties and is virtually indistinguishable from legal claims made by President Bush.  

But the officials say that, as much as the concept of indefinite detention is distasteful to the president and his legal advisers, there is simply no alternative for dealing with potentially dozens of detainees whom the administration doesn't want to release because they are thought to be too dangerous, but can't bring to trial for lack of evidence.

This is what happens when you play politics with national security. Obama wanted to score brownie points with the far left by announcing on his second day in office that Gitmo would be closed and detainees get trials. Non-partisan security people told him he couldn't do it, that letting some of those terrorists go would be tantamount to inviting an attack.

Now the president is stuck in a morass of his own making. The danger now is that he'll think more of honoring his promise to his liberal friends rather than thinking of the security of the United States and her people.

And Obama, always with one eye on the polls, may conclude the political fallout just isn't worth it and do something really stupid in order to please his base.

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