Attorney General Reflects on His Visit to Gitmo
By Carrie A. Johnson
Two days after returning from a trip to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told reporters this afternoon that he remains determined to shutter the scandal-plagued facility within a year, despite a series of legal and diplomatic hurdles in his path.
In an executive order issued shortly after President Obama assumed office, Obama put Holder at the helm of an interagency task force assigned to review the status of some 245 detainees who remained at Guantanamo Bay. The task force will work to figure out whether detainees can be released, tried in U.S. courts or processed through military commissions. Obama directed the closure of the prison within one year.
At a Washington news conference this afternoon, Holder said the task of reviewing inmates' files "will not be an easy" one.
"It's going to take us a good portion of that time to look at all of the files that we have to examine, until we get our hands around what Guantanamo is, and also what Guantanamo was," the attorney general said.
Holder went out of his way to praise commanders of the facility and said he did not witness any mistreatment of inmates, many of whom have complained through defense lawyers that they had been subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, sleep and temperature deprivation, and practices akin to torture.
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