Obama wants Guantanamo closed in a year

January 22, 2009 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, January 22 – President Barack Obama is expected on Thursday to sign "several" executive orders that alter the Central Intelligence Agency’s protocol for detaining suspects and interrogating them, US media reported.

Obama is also to sign an executive order to close within a year the US "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a White House official confirmed earlier.

White House counsel Greg Craig spoke to Democratic and Republican lawmakers late Wednesday and "told members of Congress to expect ‘several’ executive orders on Guantanamo Bay," the Washington Post said citing sources familiar with the briefings.

The orders involve "altering CIA detention and interrogation rules, limiting interrogation standards in all US facilities worldwide to those outlined in the Army Field Manual, and prohibiting the agency from secretly holding terrorist detainees in third-country prisons," the newspaper said.

A revised version of the Army Field Manual was released in 2006, explicitly banning controversial techniques such as beating, using dogs to intimate them, electric shocks and waterboarding, which critics say is tantamount to torture.

The New York Times said the "orders would bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years," and "also prohibit the CIA from using coercive interrogation methods."


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