Kailua (United States) (AFP) – President Barack Obama signed into law the compromise U.S. budget bill recently negotiated by feuding lawmakers and a massive defense measure that takes a step toward ultimate closure of Guantanamo.
After signing the legislation while vacationing in Hawaii with his family, Obama praised the National Defense Authorization Act for allowing accelerated repatriation of terror suspects from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“I am encouraged that this act provides the executive greater flexibility to transfer Guantanamo detainees abroad, and look forward to working with the Congress to take the additional steps needed to close the facility,” Obama said in a statement.
The new law still forbids transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States, a restriction Obama opposes.
“The continued operation of the facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners and emboldening violent extremists,” the president said.
Representative Buck McKeon, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee and is opposed to shuttering the prison, warned that “we can’t turn dangerous terrorists loose on blind faith.”