Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that federal law flatly prevents President Obama from sending of the the detainees from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. territory, hurting his ability to follow through on his new closure plan.
“That is the state of the law,” she said, pointing to the most recent defense policy law passed late last year, which cleared Congress on a bipartisan vote and which Mr. Obama himself signed into law.
Ms. Lynch said it’s her understanding the president’s plan, released Tuesday, is a “goal” and a challenge to Congress rather than an effort to circumvent lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
She said she supports the goal, saying the detention facility has become a security liability for the U.S.
The White House has tried to talk tough, saying that Mr. Obama won’t “take any options off the table” such as trying to close the prison by executive action. But Ms. Lynch’s comments seemed to undercut that.