Accessibility links

Breaking News

Obama Weighing Holding Terror Suspects In U.S.

A watchtower at the Guantanamo Bay detention center
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- President Barack Obama is considering holding terrorism suspects in the United States under a revamp of military commission trials for Guantanamo detainees, "The Wall Street Journal" has reported.

The proposal being weighed would mean keeping some terrorism suspects on U.S. soil indefinitely under the authority of some kind of national-security court, the newspaper said on its website, quoting Senator Lindsay Graham.

Obama is reworking the Bush administration's system of military commissions for prosecuting detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba camp -- which he has pledged to close by 2010 -- with the aim of adding more legal protection for those on trial.

The Obama administration has been trying to win European commitments to take some of the 241 prisoners.

In January, Obama ordered a four-month freeze on trials at Guantanamo while his administration decides whether to move the prosecutions to regular civilian or military courts in the United States, or maintain the widely criticized special military proceedings used up to now.

Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates got a hostile reception from several lawmakers over the idea of sending high-security Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. mainland and Gates said he anticipated strong opposition to any such move.

Obama, who is trying to balance security concerns with his campaign promise of shuttering Guantanamo and cleaning up America's image abroad, on May 13 reversed a decision to release photos showing the abuse of terrorism suspects, over concern they could ignite a backlash against U.S. troops.