President Obama Security

Report: President Obama Considering Executive Action on Gitmo


The Wall Street Journal reports the White House is examining ways the president could close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, including bypassing Congress.

White House officials have concluded Mr. Obama likely has two options for closing Guantanamo, should Congress extend the restrictions, which it could do after the midterm elections.

He could veto the annual bill setting military policy, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, in which the ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. is written. While the veto wouldn’t directly affect military funding, such a high-stakes confrontation with Congress carries significant political risks.

A second option would be for Mr. Obama to sign the bill while declaring restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief, as he has done previously.

A veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) seems highly unlikely to me given that we are now engaged against ISIS, leaving the latter option as more plausible.

The Journal says this could “provoke a sharp reaction” in Congress and I’d call that an understatement.

Both parties, Republicans and Democrats, have repeatedly voted to prohibit the president from closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. During the early years of the Obama administration when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, the president faced unanimous opposition to transferring detainees to maximum security prisons inside the states. In more recent years, Democratic opposition to closing the prison has faded while Republican opposition has become the primary obstacle to closure.

Language that prohibits the president from closing the prison has been included in the NDAA, which funds the full scope of our national defense apparatus, making it difficult for the president to veto.

It’s possible a Republican-controlled House and Senate could place even tighter restrictions on closing the prison. It also seems increasingly plausible given the GOP’s renewed penchant for fearmongering and neo-con foreign policy.

In related news — I can’t explain why the Wall Street Journal refers to the president as “Mr. Obama.” Is “President Obama” or “the president” too wordy?

  • Rollo Tamasi

    In more recent years, Democratic opposition to closing the prison has faded

    I don’t know about that. Dem opposition may have decreased, but I’d like to get their votes on the record to see how much. They are afraid of their own shadows on “homeland security” issues.

    • JMAshby

      Each time it has come up for a vote in the House over the past two years, it has been Republican votes that passed the prohibitions, with more than two thirds of the Democrats voting against keeping the prison open.

      • Rollo Tamasi

        Ok, thanks.

  • gescove

    I think the stylebooks for WSJ, NYT, AP and others say the first reference should always be “President” and subsequent references may be simply “Mr.” for brevity. I hope the president does take action to close the Guantanamo abomination. I hope it will finally silence those who whine “but he promised!” even though one of his very first actions as President was to sign an executive order to close it forgetting just how circumscribed his powers are to accomplish it. But it will surely unleash a shit storm. No doubt McCain and Graham will lead the effort to stop the administration from bringing any of these Terrorists With Super Powers Now with Enhanced ISIS/ISIL Evil Intent and Fortified with Ebola here to kill us all in our sleep.

    • Rollo Tamasi

      I hope it will finally silence those who whine “but he promised!”

      Not likely. What I expect to hear from them is a “yeah, but”. Because it’s really not about an issue for some of them, it’s about Obama.

  • muselet

    In response, John Boehner weighed in:

    “Even as Islamic jihadists are beheading Americans, the White House is so eager to bring these terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States that it is examining ways to thwart Congress and unilaterally re-write the law,” Boehner said in a statement. “Not only is this scheme dangerous, it is yet another example of what will be this administration’s legacy of lawlessness.”

    Does that sound to anyone else like every statement the Speaker’s office has issued for the past six years?

    It is perfectly appropriate for the Wall Street Journal to refer to him as “Mr. Obama,” especially after having referred to him in paragraph 1 as “President Barack Obama.” There is no breach of protocol or civility here, even if it is the increasingly-loony WSJ.


    • vgranucci

      Their style manual probably says that they use Mr. or Ms. Lastname after the first instance which should include the persons official title and their first name. No disrespect to the president in this instance. (Not saying WSJ doesn’t disrespect the president, just that this isn’t an example of it)

      • muselet

        Just about every newspaper and broadcast outlet does it, or something similar. The ones that don’t are mostly printed in crayon on kraft paper.


  • 1933john

    Who owns the Wall Street Journal ?

    • mdblanche

      Rupert Murdoch

      • 1933john

        Gee, I only need one dot.
        Thank you mdblanche!

  • i_a_c

    I had been wondering if he had been saving this issue for late in his second term. Allows him to take all the political heat for no cost.

    And “Mr. Obama” is pretty standard in journalism. The NYT does the same thing I believe.

    • JMAshby

      I find it very odd and jarring.

    • Rollo Tamasi

      Not sure about that. Normally they (news articles) refer to him as President Obama in the opening paragraph and Mr. Obama, thereafter. I don’t see anything disrespectful about that. That’s what the WSJ did in this instance, too. But, I’ve seen some instances where they never refer to him as President. I think that is highly disrespectful, and I don’t think it’s an oversight.