Senator Sees ‘Inertia’ Over Closing of Gitmo Prison

President Obama is unlikely to implement his campaign pledge to close the prison holding terrorism detainees at Guantanamo Bay before his term ends in 2013.

Political opposition and a focus on other issues are putting the closing on the back burner, the New York Times reports.

Congressional committees voted to block money for renovations of an Illinois prison to house the detainees after critics raised security concerns. At the same time, two changes are bolstering the rights of detainees. Obama banned harsh interrogations and Congress added more safeguards to military commissions.

The story quotes Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “There is a lot of inertia” against closing the prison, “and the administration is not putting a lot of energy behind their position that I can see,” he told the Times.

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told the Times that the president remains committed to closing the facility.

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