Attorney General Eric H. Holder's decision to return the case of Khalid Sheik Mohammed to the Defense Department effectively signaled the end of President Obama’s promise to close the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was both "a pragmatic decision," and a marked failure, two years in the making.
The Washington Post provides the anatomy of Obama's failure based on interviews with more than 30 current and former administration officials, as well as members of Congress and their staff, members of the George W. Bush administration, and activists. Here are major setbacks that contributed to the ultimate unraveling of what was once a signature goal of Obama's administration.
Northern Virginia. A key step in the process, agreed on by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior national security officials, involved the stealth relocation of eight of the 17 Uighurs held at the off-shore facility to the United States, mostly in Virginia.
But before the plane left Cuba, word leaked to Rep. Frank R. Wolf that detainees were on their way to his district in Northern Virginia. Wolf, who had not been briefed on the matter by the White House, was infuriated, and faxed a letter to the administration and media declaring that the “American people cannot afford to simply take your word that these detainees, who were captured training in terrorist camps, are not a threat if released into our communities.” The administration shelved the plans in response.