After Obama’s election, a team led by the Pentagon’s top detainee official, Sandra Hodgkinson, was tasked with determining whether it would be possible to close Gitmo and move all detainees to military prisons in the U.S. A person familiar with the team’s work said that it examined four possible locations: the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.; the Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Calif. The team concluded that the incoming administration could meet its 12-month deadline for closing the facility if work got started immediately. The Pentagon conveyed the findings to Obama and his national-security team. Shortly after taking office, the president issued the executive order officially promising to close the prison within a year.
A person who has read the Hodgkinson team’s report said, however, that it failed to adequately take into account the political and logistical challenges of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The group didn’t consider whether Congress was likely to provide the necessary funding to build a new prison, and it didn’t examine the sheer bureaucratic challenges of doing major construction on domestic military bases, a lengthy process that involves environmental-impact studies and other hurdles, this person said.