All In   |  April 08, 2013

Has Obama given up on closing Gitmo?

One hundred and sixty six detainees remain at the prison at Guantanamo Bay without trial for over a decade. Chris Hayes discusses the administration's plans on Guantanamo with Jen Daskal, Congressman Jared Polis, and Pardiss Kebriaei.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> all right, you represent detainees at guantanamo where there is a widening hunger strike . before we went to break you were going to give us the solution to the intractable problem that is guantanamo .

>> the solution is what president obama said four years ago. he committed four years ago on his second day in office to close the prison. we're four years from that .of the the problem is a lack of political will. there are restrictions in congress that make it more difficult, but those are not insurmountable restrictions. congress has tied maybe one hand behind president obama 's back but there's another hand free that can start signaling that transfers are a priority, that closure of guantanamo --

>> how does he do that?

>> he starts with transferring the people everyone agrees do not belong there. there is a client we have that's an algerian. he needs resettlement. there are countries in europe ready to take him. the problem here is the administration. it is not that he doesn't have anywhere to go. it's not that he hasn't been cleared, it's there is no political will to move him. there have been no transfers at all for two years. so the problem is really a lack of political will. there is no -- and the administration is doing exactly what it --

>> do you agree with that, jen? do you think it's a political will problem?

>> i think it's in part a political will. i think that one -- two things. one, we should be clear, this administration has committed not to send any other new detainees to guantanamo and that's what the administration is doing and absolutely what should be done in the future. there's been close to 500 terrorism prosecutions since september 11th , including approximately 67 detainees who were captured overseas and brought to the united states to stand trial and that should be the model going forward. there is clearly a political will problem and it's both -- congress bears responsibility, the administration bears responsibility and part of it is just a real fear of risk, a real fear of really transferring a detainee who someday does some harm and that's this case dependency legacy problem that we have with guantanamo that's really hard to resolve.

>> congressman, you have to stand for re-election. you vote against the -- you vote to close guantanamo and you vote against the riders and we release someone into europe and he smuggles across the border and we find him plotting again and that shows up in your re- election campaign .

>> what the president should know is not only do many of us in congress have his back should he choose to fulfill his campaign promise but many of us will be cheering. this is an unconstitutional operation --

>> you don't fear that politically? is that just the nature of the district you're in?

>> people that have done crimes need to be prosecuted. absolutely not everybody from guantanamo will be released or should they be released. if people need to be brought up on charges, they need to be pebblized, held in high security facilities, some of them perhaps for the rest of their lives. they need to face a court of law. everybody deserves that. our society deserves an accountability for that to see what crimes were committed and how people should be held accountable.

>> i just want to say that fear is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of who we have held at guantanamo . the people who are there and who were there were mostly running from the fight. they were people who were sold into u.s. custody for bounty. right now the 166 again, more than half have been cleared for transfer by every government agency with a stake in guantanamo . these people have determined unanimously that more than half of the current population does not need to be there. i also have to say i think the representative and i are on the same side of closing guantanamo . i do not think the answer after 11 1/2 years is to shuttle people to supermax facilities here and to hold them in solitary confinement for 22 to 24 hours a day . so that isn't -- that isn't efficient, it's not cost effect, it's not humane and that's not the solution. the solution is to start with a plan, start with appointing someone in the administration to lead this effort forward and to close the prison in the right way, in a humane way and that doesn't mean just shuttle people here.

>> it sounds to me like this, one that, a transfer of someone who has been cleared for release for you is a small low-hanging fruit starting point.

>> that is the -- that is who everyone agrees --

>> what's your client's name?

>> sabri mohammed, the man i met with last week were cleared years ago.

>> jens toda s todjen, congressman, pardis s, thank you all. that is all in this evening.