January 7th, 2011
06:22 PM ET

Obama signs bill with "dangerous" provisions

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama signed a defense spending bill into law Friday, and said he would work to repeal provisions making it harder to close the prison.

H.R. 6523, which authorizes the funding for all military activities of the United States for fiscal year 2011, includes a provision that bars the use of funds, authorized by the law, for use in the transfer of detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay into the United States. In a written statement after signing the bill into law, Obama called the provision “a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests.”

Obama said the option to try terrorists in federal court was necessary to preserve, and any attempt to take it away “undermines our Nation’s counterterrorism efforts and has the potential to harm our national security.”

The president objected to another provision of the bill, which bars the use of funds to transfer detainees to the custody or control of foreign countries, unless certain conditions were met. He said such a provision hinders the ability of the executive branch to “make important and consequential” national security determinations on when such transfers should occur in a still ongoing armed conflict. Obama went on to say such conditions would “hinder the conduct of delicate negotiations with foreign countries and therefore the effort to conclude detainee transfers in accord with our national security.”

After citing his objection to the two provisions, Obama said he signed the bill into law “because of the importance of authorizing appropriations for, among other things, our military activities in 2011. Obama said his administration would work with Congress to repeal the provisions, and mitigate their effects.

Over the course of its existence, a number of detainees from Guantanamo have been transferred to destinations as wide ranging as Palau, Bermuda, and Albania. On Thursday, the Defense Department announced an agreement the United States had reached with the government of Algeria to receive another detainee. In announcing the transfer, the Pentagon said 173 detainees remain at the Guantanamo facility.

Topics: Guantanamo • President Obama

Next entry »
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jay in NC

    Barry you pounded on this point, closing Guantanamo, during the election. Said that it was the difference between you and President Bush. You promised to return America to the "moral high ground." It has been two years and now you complicate the issue by hiding behind this bill. Admit it you will never close Guantanamo. You lied. Don't you think that you now owe President Bush and apology.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  2. Liz Carter in Georgia

    When are you going to ask BUSH and all of the living, previous past PRESIDENTS to apologize to OBAMA for leaving him in the fix that he's in today, period? And that includes BILL CLINTON! I don't recall any other president being requested by anyone; not to speak of a so-called layman AMERICAN, taxpaying citizen, to apologize to his predecessor for anything that he found, once he actually went into office, was in fact, a reasonable decision made by his predeccesor at that time; and may still be! My goodness!

    January 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |