Obama Issues Directives On Detainees, Interrogation, GuantanamoJanuary 22, 2009 12:56 President Obama, putting his executive pen in his left hand to overrule eight years of Bush administration policy, signed "several" executive orders Thursday, including ones affecting national security.
The national security orders mandate that interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual be used by all intelligence and law enforcement services; call for a task force to look at closing the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within the year; and orders a strategy to be developed for handling detainees in the future. The presidential directive also orders a stay in the case of Ali Al-Marri, the only person being held by the military as an enemy combatant on U.S. soil.
Click here to see the first executive orders signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton.
"We intend to win this fight. We're going to win it on our terms," Obama said as he signed the orders and the directive in the Oval Office. Obama explained each order before he put his pen to them, in some cases reading them in full, and occasionally solicited input from White House counsel Greg Craig to make sure he was describing them correctly.
The executive order says everyone in custody should be questioned under the Army Field Manual, which is intended for honorable combatants, meaning POWs in a military conflict. The rule would prevent trained interrogators at the CIA from using lawful interrogation techniques against terrorists who have been trained to withstand Army Field Manual techniques.
"The message that we are sending the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism and we are going to do so vigilantly and we are going to do so effectively and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals," the president said.
Obama Signs Executive Order To Close Guantanamo BayJanuary 22, 2009 11:25 Promising to return America to the "moral high ground" in the war on terror, President Barack Obama issued three executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration -- including one requiring that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year.
During a signing ceremony at the White House, Obama reaffirmed his inaugural pledge that the United States does not have "to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals."
The president said he was issuing the order to close the Guantanamo detention facility in order to "restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism."
A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. That essentially ends the Bush administration's CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.
"We believe that the Army field manual reflects the best judgment of our military, that we can abide by a rule that says we don't torture, but that we can still effectively obtain the intelligence that we need," Obama said.
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