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Verbatim | Pentagon briefing on prison camps closure

From the May 19, 2009 Pentagon news briefing on the Obama administration's order to empty the prison camps at Guantánamo by Jan. 22, 2009:

REPORTER: Secretary [Robert] Gates has said several times that he expected to see a raft of NIMBY legislation, in Congress, related to plans to close Guantánamo. Now that some of that is actually coming to pass, what is his reaction to Congress's reaction to plans to close the prison? And is the administration timeline of one year in any jeopardy? MR. GEOFF MORRELL, Defense Department spokesman: I have not frankly, Ann, had a conversation with him, in the wake of some legislative developments you've referred to. Obviously when he testified, over the last couple weeks, he's talked about his expectation of their perhaps being as many as 535 different amendments or pieces of legislation, to try to prohibit detainees from being moved to the districts of representatives up on the Hill. So, but I haven't had a chance to talk to him since any of that has been introduced. With regards to whether or not the January timeline, the one-year timeline that the president has given his team, as part of the executive orders he signed in early-January, I see nothing to indicate that that date is at all in jeopardy. As far as I can tell, everything remains on track for action to be taken, with regards to the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, by the timeline -- according to the timeline prescribed by the president in the executive order. But I think, you know, this -- the people who are most intimately involved in that, including our general counsel, the deputy secretary as well, are in the midst of, you know, near-constant meetings with their counterparts at the -- at Justice, at State, in the White House, on these very, very complicated matters. And I can't tell you where they stand at this point, but I think I would look ahead to later this week, when the president is likely to address this and other subjects in a speech, I believe. Yeah? REPORTER: A follow-up on Guantánamo, closing of Guantánamo: Is the Pentagon studying, among other options, a transfer of the Guantánamo detainees to Bagram? MR. MORRELL: I do not believe that is something that we are considering at this point now. I will -- and I -- this is a slippery slope whenever begin to discuss what we may be considering. But I have not heard that as a consideration.

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