Sorry, false alarm.
A major meeting was to take place today amongst the president's national security and legal advisers, the AP reported late yesterday; and the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention facility was on the table. And "for the first time, it appears a consensus is developing, senior administration officials said Thursday."
That story broke around 6 PM last night. By 8 PM, the story had changed: there was no meeting, the White House said, and "no decisions on the future of Guantanamo Bay are imminent."
What happened? The Washington Post reports this morning that there really was supposed to be such a meeting. But "two administration officials" say that once word broke about the subject, and the apparent "consensus" that had been developing towards closing the facility, Gitmo was pulled off the table.
And the Post reports that the administration doesn't seem to be anywhere close to a resolution: Justice Department officials still don't want detainees to have access to habeaus corpus rights, and Homeland Security officials still oppose it "because it would mean bringing some of the people on the nation's terror watch list... inside U.S. borders."
And the vice president "has vehemently opposed bringing the detainees into this country."
In other words, there's the same split right down the administration that there's been since Robert Gates became Secretary of Defense. And that phantom "consensus" reported on last night would seem to be wishful thinking on behalf of those on Gates' side of the debate. Nobody told Dick Cheney that there was a consensus developing, apparently. Actually, a source tells the Post, it's more of a "tide":
"Of course people are talking about closing Guantanamo, of course," a senior administration official said. "[Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates has said he wanted to close it down. [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice has spoken out on the issue. So far, it's a tide but not a wave. They don't want to leave this behind. They want to resolve this."
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