Washington, Oct.21 : U.S. President George W Bush has decided not close down the prison facility at the Guantanamo Bay naval base near Cuba, citing that there are too many legal and political risks for taking such a step.
According to the New York Times, Bush has also never considered proposals drafted by the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere.
The decision has been taken in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court casting doubt in June this year on the future of the American detention center.
The administration is proceeding on the assumption that Guant¡namo will remain open not only for the rest of Bush's presidency, which concludes on January 19, 2009, but also well beyond.
The prison has become a much reviled symbol of the Bush administration's fight against terrorism.
Both presidential candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, have called for closing Guant¡namo. They can reverse Bush's policy, though probably not quickly since neither has spelled out precisely how to deal with some of the thorniest legal consequences of shutting the prison.
Bush's aides insist that the president's desire is still to close Guant¡namo when conditions permit. Administration officials say that even Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the most powerful advocates for closing the prison, have quietly acquiesced to the arguments of more hawkish advisers, including Vice President Dick Cheney.
Bush's decision followed a review of the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling in June that the 250 detainees at Guant¡namo have the right to make habeas corpus appeals.
The ruling, Boumediene v. Bush, undercut a core rationale for keeping the prison off American soil, raising expectations that Bush might at last move to close it, a prospect he first raised in June 2006, when he said, "I'd like to close Guant¡namo, but I also recognize that we're holding some people that are darn dangerous, and that we better have a plan to deal with them in our courts."
Bush has harshly criticized the ruling, including at least twice in fund-raising speeches for Republicans. When he met with his senior security advisers.
McCain has suggested moving the detainees to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.The Obama campaign has declined to comment specifically, but has promised to abolish military tribunals and conduct a review to determine which prisoners to prosecute, which to hold under the laws of war and which to release. His proposal does not specify where detainees would be held.