WASHINGTON – The Attorney General made the following statement today:
As the Administration has long stated, it is essential that the government have the ability to use both military commissions and federal courts as tools to keep this country safe. Unfortunately, some in Congress have unwisely sought to undermine this process by imposing restrictions that challenge the Executive Branch’s ability to bring to justice terrorists who seek to do Americans harm. We oppose those restrictions, and will continue to seek their repeal.
It is important, however, that military commissions, as reformed by the Military Commissions Act in 2009 and other reforms, be allowed to resume. In November of that year, after consulting with the Secretary of Defense, I referred a number of cases for consideration for prosecution in military commissions. For the remaining cases the Guantanamo Review Task Force deemed suitable to pursue for prosecution, we will continue to work, along with the Department of Defense, to ensure that justice is done as swiftly as possible.
The executive order issued by the President today strengthens the legal framework under which we will continue to detain those individuals who are at war with our country and who pose a significant threat to the security of the United States. In addition, federal courts will continue to review the legality of detention of individuals at Guantanamo. While we continue to work to close Guantanamo, these steps will ensure that the detention of individuals there is appropriate under our laws.