Attorney General Eric Holder held an unannounced meeting at the Justice Department today with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior administration officials to discuss plans to shutter the Guantanamo Bay military prison by next January.
The meeting of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Review Task Force also included FBI Director Robert Mueller, CIA Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, White House Counsel Gregory Craig, Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Randy Beers and Justice Department national security division veteran Matthew Olsen, the executive director of the task force.
The officials also talked about the “standards for detainee reviews, factors that will be considered in prioritizing detainee reviews, and progress that has been achieved thus far,” according to a statement from the Justice Department.
According to an official familiar with the process, detainees are being grouped into categories, and government officials from multiple agencies are being grouped into teams assigned to examine particular categories of detainees.
The review teams would then make recommendations to the Guantanamo task force. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deliberations are private.
If a review team cannot reach a consensus on a particular detainee, the case will go to the Cabinet-level officials to reach a decision, the official said.
Holder, who visited Guantanamo Bay last month, told the Associated Press that he vowed to close the facility and handle the 240 people imprisoned there “in a way that ensures that people are treated fairly and that the American people are kept safe.”