Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Meeting with Guantanamo Special Envoys
Today, President Obama met with Clifford Sloan, the State Department’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, and with Paul Lewis, the Defense Department’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure. The President thanked the two Special Envoys for their important work. The President reiterated that he remains fully committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and made clear that the Special Envoys have his full support as they work to facilitate the transfer of Guantanamo detainees. The Guantanamo facility continues to drain our resources and harm our standing in the world. As the President said in his speech at the National Defense University, we are spending almost one million dollars per detainee per year to house detainees at Guantanamo – that’s nearly $200 million dollars annually in an era of sequestration and tighter budgets. To the greatest extent possible, the Administration will continue transferring detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries and we call again on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers, which have significantly limited our ability to responsibly reduce the detainee population and ultimately close the facility.