Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged President Obama to transfer suspected terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison to facilities in the U.S. in a confidential memo.
Clinton also advocated for U.S. jury trials for prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay in the January 2013 memo, which was obtained by the Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“If the law permits, I recommend that you consider transfers to the United States for pre-trial detention, trial, and sentences,” Clinton wrote, arguing that “federal courts are time-tested and credible to our allies.”
“We must signal to our old and emerging allies alike that we remain serious about turning the page of [Guantanamo Bay Naval Base] GTMO and the practices of the prior decade,” Clinton, then outgoing secretary of state, wrote in early 2013. “The revitalization of transfers, efforts to prosecute some detainees in federal courts, a longer-term approach to the return of Yemeni detainees, and credible periodic reviews would send the signal and renew a credible detention policy.”
Among other things, Clinton encouraged the administration to persuade members of Congress against closing Guantanamo not to reenact restrictions on the president’s ability to close the prison in fiscal year 2014 “on the grounds that tying the executive’s hands on detention policy has negative national security implications beyond GTMO.”
Obama, who promised when he took office to close the military prison, has pressed forward to shutter the facility despite restrictions put in place by Congress. The president has threatened to use executive action to close the prison, which Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) has said would prompt Congress to take the administration to court.