Gibbs Appears to Shoot Down Executive Order on Preventive Detentions
Serves me right for not reading my White House briefing transcript until this morning, but here’s Robert Gibbs yesterday talking about what looked on Friday to be a forthcoming executive order authorizing preventive detentions:
I think the President addressed the notion and the very tough issue that the administration is likely to face, and that is that we are going to have detainees that will be hard to prosecute and too dangerous to release. And while the administration is considering a series of options, a range of options, none relies on legal theories that we have the inherent authority to detain people. And this will not be pursued in that manner.
You don’t get the sharp, declarative sentence “We will not put forward an executive order on preventive detention,” but this comes fairly close. I suppose the White House could issue an executive order claiming authority for preventive detentions that doesn’t rely on inherent presidential authority — Daphne, can you help me out here? — but in the full context of the presser, Gibbs seems to be trying to shy away from the executive-order option, which is commensurate with other stuff I’m hearing from the administration.