January 7th, 2011
06:22 PM ET
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.”
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.