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A speech by the Pentagon’s top lawyer about the continuing war effort in the Middle East has led to speculation about the fate of America’s most debated prison.In a speech at Oxford University on Friday, Jeh Johnson spoke about the upcoming “tipping point” in the war against terror, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
That point will come one day when Al Qaeda has “been effectively destroyed,” and the aims of the war effort that began in 2001 have essentially been achieved, Johnson said.
Johnson’s claims could lead many to speculate the end of Al Qaeda will also mean the end of Guantanamo Bay, the controversial prison used to house terrorist suspects.
Mr. Johnson’s remarks could influence the continuing debate over restricting U.S. prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Obama administration wants to close the prison, but efforts to do so have been blocked by lawmakers.
Detainees at Guantanamo are held there by the U.S. under the authority of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against al Qaeda, passed by Congress and signed by the president.
If the administration, courts or Congress were to declare the AUMF no longer in force, detainees at Guantanamo could petition for their release, according to legal experts.
The administration has frequently announced its desire to close the facility, and Johnson’s claims might be the impetus to finally shutter Guantanamo.
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