Closing Guantanamo

September 30, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 34
Does the prison hinder the fight against terrorism?
By Patrick Marshall


Critics of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility protest (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
Critics of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility protest at the White House on March 11, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she will continue President Obama's efforts to close the 14-year-old prison for terrorism suspects; Republican nominee Donald Trump wants to expand its use. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

President Obama has tried for years to close the U.S. military-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and incarcerate terrorism suspects in the United States. Critics of Guantanamo say it serves as a potent propaganda tool for the Islamic State, which makes the prisoners it captures wear orange jumpsuits nearly identical to those worn by Guantanamo inmates. But Republicans and some Democrats have fought to keep the facility open, contending that transferring detainees to U.S. soil would be dangerous. The prison has drawn the opposition of many U.S. allies, who cite allegations of torture there. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wants to close the prison, while Republican nominee Donald Trump vows to expand its use. The Obama administration has stopped sending new prisoners to Guantanamo and is steadily reducing the population — now 61 inmates — by transferring detainees to the custody of U.S. allies. National security analysts say the Guantanamo controversy underscores the need to reform how suspects captured in the terrorism fight are tried in court.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Military Bases
Sep. 30, 2016  Closing Guantanamo
Feb. 15, 1980  American Military Strength Abroad
Sep. 14, 1960  Foreign Bases: Declining Asset
Jan. 30, 1957  Future of Overseas Bases
Jul. 09, 1951  Overseas Bases
Jun. 16, 1944  Outlying Bases
Feb. 16, 1939  American Naval and Air Bases
Congress Actions
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process
Defense Budget
Domestic Issues
Federal Courts
General Defense and National Security
International Law and Agreements
Middle East Conflicts
Military Bases
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Political Affairs: Latin America and the Caribbean
Sentencing and Corrections
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
War and Conflict