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On The Record with Don Guter, former presidential advisor on Guantanamo Bay 

As a presidential adviser on Guantanamo Bay, Don Guter -- the former dean of Duquesne University's law school -- recommended that Barack Obama shut down the controversial prison. Guter, today the dean of the South Texas College of Law, spoke about Obama's March 7 decision to keep "Gitmo" open.

 

Were you disappointed by Obama's recent decision to create a system of indefinite detention at Gitmo?
It was a big disappointment. I thought we were still working toward a system where we would not have the equivalent of unlimited detention. 

Back in 2009, did you imagine closing the facility would be so difficult?
We had discussed the fact that we might not be able to meet that goal of closing within a year. We thought the goal would be met, but maybe not that quickly. 

But did you ever think Gitmo would never close?
I don't think we did. The one thing that I certainly didn't anticipate was how much opposition there would be to closing it. When Congress got involved and started impeding any kind of plan to transfer the detainees to prisons here ... I think we became more pessimistic. 

Republicans will likely use Obama's reversal to argue that President Bush's policies were correct ...
I don't think it shows that the Bush policies were right all along. I think it shows that the circumstances have changed and the political climate has changed. [Obama] ... is stuck with a different Congress and a different set of laws ... that have tied his hands.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY RENEE ROSENSTEEL

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