Attorney General Jeff Sessions and
part of the GTMO prison.
(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats went to visit the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on July 7 in order to “to have an up-to-date understanding of current operations.”
President Trump, Jeff Sessions, as well as other members of the administration have previously stated their intention to keep “Gitmo” up and running, possibly using it to incarcerate ISIS fighters.
However, the current administration has yet to take concrete action, leaving the prison’s future uncertain.
“The purpose of the trip is to gain that understanding by meeting with the people on the ground who are leading our government-wide efforts at GTMO,” said Department of Justice spokesman Ian Prior.
“Keeping this country safe from terrorists is the highest priority of the Trump administration,” he said. “Recent attacks in Europe and elsewhere confirm that the threat to our nation is immediate and real, and it remains essential that we use every lawful tool available to prevent as many attacks as possible.”
Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. (Conservativetribune.)
This statement, as well as previous statements from administration officials, seems to indicate that the island prison will continue operating.
In a March interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Jeff Sessions said Gitmo served as a good place to hold criminals and saw no legal issue with the detention center remaining open.
“I’ve been there a number of times as a senator, and it’s just a very fine place for holding these kind of dangerous criminals…there’s plenty of space,” Sessions argued. “We are well-equipped for it. It’s a perfect place for it. Eventually, this will be decided by the military rather than the Justice Department. But I see no legal problem whatsoever with doing that.”
On the campaign trail, candidate Trump discussed refilling the prison with more “bad dudes,” including those with connections to the Islamic State.
“This morning, I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open,” said Trump in 2016. “Which we are keeping open … and we’re going to load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we’re going to load it up.”
At the beginning of January, just weeks before Trump’s inauguration, President Obama made some last-ditch efforts to empty Gitmo–one of his original campaign promises.
In his final month, President Obama transferred four more detainees, leaving the prison with 41 total. In 2009, upon entering the White House, there were 242 prisoners total at Guantanamo Bay.
“I don’t anticipate that we will succeed in that goal of closing the prison, but it’s not for a lack of trying — that, I assure you,” said former Press Secretary Josh Earnest, days before President Trump began his term.
At the moment, it remains business as usual at the island detention center.