In a major counterterrorism speech at National Defense University, President Barack Obama on Thursday shed light on his plans to close down the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including a request to the Department of Defense to designate a new site in the United States to hold military commissions.
“Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO,” Obama said, according to text of the speech as prepared for delivery. “I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.”
As he outlined those proposals, however, Obama was interrupted by a heckler, who seemed to shout something about Guantanamo. The President engaged the woman, insisting that she allow him to speak.