The White House is in its "final stages of drafting a plan to safely and responsibly" shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing Wednesday.
"That has been something that our national security officials have been working on for quite some time," Earnest said, according to the BBC. "Primarily because it is a priority of the president."
President Obama first announced plans to close the detention facility on Jan. 22, 2009. Later that year, Obama acknowledged that his 2010 deadline for the measure would not be reached, the BBC reported.
Recently, bipartisan opposition in Congress has hindered Guantanamo Bay's closing--a ban blocking the transfer of detainees into the United States acts as a massive hurdle when regarding the 116 detainees currently held in the prison.
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For the Obama administration, one of the detention center's perils comes in its use as a recruiting tool for terrorists, according to CNN.
"Continuing to operate that prison is not an effective use of our taxpayer resources, and it certainly is not consistent with our national security interests," Earnest said.
The Senate is deliberating over an annual defense policy bill that would allow Guantanamo Bay's closing. For this to happen, Congress needs to approve a plan presented by president Obama, Reuters reported.
The United States has used the controversial detention center to hold, interrogate, and prosecute terror suspects since January 2002.
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