I don't know why this "senior administration official" needed to say it on background if the administration is so committed to closing GItmo, and if the official really believes what he's saying:
Closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains "a national security imperative" despite a news report that two of the planners behind the attempted airborne bombing on Christmas Day had been released from Gitmo in 2007, a senior administration official said. ABC News' Brian Ross reported: "Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the Al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents." The administration official said, "The detention facility at Guantanamo has been used by Al Qaeda as a rallying cry and recruiting tool - including its affiliate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. As our military leaders have recognized, closing the detention facility at Guantanamo is a national security imperative.
Regarding Brian Ross's story, you really need to read Joscelyn's post from yesterday for context (Ross seems to have gotten some key facts wrong), but to the larger point -- what this administration official is saying is not news, it's the same boilerplate language on Gitmo that has been coming out of the White House for nearly a year now. So why on earth would a senior administration official suddenly need to go on background to say that "closing the detention facility at Guantanamo is a national security imperative," unless of course al Qaeda's attempted Christmas Day Massacre, coordinated in Yemen, has so complicated the administration's plans that it is no longer certain at all that the facility will be closed even by January of 2011, let alone the original "deadline" of January 2010?
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