the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Adam Smith Amendment

The President applauds Ranking Member Adam Smith for his continued stalwart leadership in standing up for our values and national security by advancing the cause of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.  By eliminating unwarranted and burdensome restrictions relating to the transfer of Guantanamo detainees, his amendment would further our efforts to move past this chapter in U.S. history.   We urge the House to adopt the Smith Amendment and put an end to the ongoing harm to the nation’s security that results from the operation of the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

This Administration has repeatedly objected to statutory restrictions that impede our ability to responsibly close the detention facility and pursue appropriate options for the detainees remaining there, including by determining when and where to prosecute detainees, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests.   In hundreds of terrorism-related cases – and as illustrated once again this week – our federal courts have proven themselves to be more than capable of administering justice.

Nearly a half billion dollars per year is an unacceptable price to pay for a facility that wastes our resources, creates friction with our allies, and undermines our standing in the world.    This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions and enables the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.  We call on Members of both parties to work together to ensure the United States meets this goal.  If this year's Defense Authorization bill continues unwarranted restrictions regarding Guantanamo detainees, the President will veto the bill.