WASHINGTON -- More than five years after he signed an executive order to close the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said it's time for Congress to help him follow through.
"This needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay -– because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world," Obama said during his State of the Union address.
Earlier in the day, journalists and human rights advocates were given access to the second Periodic Review Board process that has taken place since Obama ordered the reviews almost three years ago. There are still 155 detainees left in Guantanamo, and while the government only plans to charge a handful in military court, congressionally imposed restrictions have prevented the executive branch from moving any of the detainees to facilities in the United States and have made it more difficult for them to be transferred to third-party countries.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 loosened some restrictions on the Defense Department that prevented it from transferring detainees to other countries.