The Obama administration has drafted an executive order that would give the president the power to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of the decision. The Washington Post reports that the choice to reinstate this authority comes as a result of growing fears that Congress could stall plans to close Guantanamo by President Obama’s January deadline. Most civil liberties groups are against long-term incarceration, arguing that prisoners should either be tried or set free, but one government official said waiting for legislation on Guantanamo “could kill Obama’s plans.” The executive order could give Obama’s opposition reason to accuse him of neglecting the legislative branch of government. If the White House follows through with its decision, the detention center would be at a military facility on U.S. soil and prisoners’ detention would be reviewed annually. U.S. citizens would not be held in the system. Prisoners eligible for indefinite detention would be those whose witnesses could not, for one reason or another, testify against them, making their trial unbalanced.
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