President Joe Biden’s aides have launched a formal review of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the controversial facility with the aim of doing so before he leaves office, the White House said according to Reuters.
Asked whether Biden would shut the high-security prison located at the Guantanamo Naval Station by the time his presidency ends, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”
But such an initiative is unlikely to bring down the curtain anytime soon on the offshore facility, due largely to the steep political and legal obstacles that also frustrated efforts by his ex-boss, former President Barack Obama, to close it.
Set up to house foreign suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, the prison came to symbolize the excesses of the U.S. “war on terror” because of harsh interrogation methods that critics say amounted to torture.
The immediate impact of a new approach could be to reinstate, in some form, Obama’s Guantanamo closure policy, which was reversed by Donald Trump as soon as he took office in 2017.
Trump kept the prison open during his four years in the White House. Now, 40 prisoners remain there, most held for nearly two decades without being charged or tried.