A bombshell story broke today about the Obama administration drafting an executive order that could be used to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely.
First, here’s the story…
Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that an order, which would bypass Congress, could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.
After months of internal debate over how to close the military facility in Cuba, White House officials are increasingly worried that reaching quick agreement with Congress on a new detention system may be impossible. Several officials said there is concern in the White House that the administration may not be able to close the prison by the president’s January deadline.
But the administration denied the report and the Washington Post has since revised it…
An administration official told AFP that no such draft order existed, though internal deliberations were taking place on how to deal with those inmates who could not be released or tried in civilian courts.
The source said that a task force established by the president was not due to present its recommendations until July, and that the administration would then work with Congress to find a solution to the conundrum.
The official was reacting to a report by The Washington Post that said the Obama administration “has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely.”
The newspaper later revised its report to say the administration “is drafting” the executive order, among other changes.
So, seriously, who’s lying?
Listen, I have no doubt that people have at least discussed the idea of keeping indefinite detention on the table because that’s just debate. But that’s a lot different than drafting an executive order. Did Wash Post jump the gun on this one or is the Obama administration actually considering indefinite detention as an option?
Also, after the last 8 years, how is indefinite detention a sticky subject in Congress? I thought it had been long since established that Americans didn’t approve of this practice. Did I miss something in the past 6 months?