I mentioned this in my 11:37 post this morning, and I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention, so here goes again. Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson suggested to the Senate Armed Services Committee today that the difficulties inherent in bringing legal charges against (or deciding on preventive detention for) about 220 detainees at Guantanamo Bay means that some continued detention past President Obama’s January 2010 deadline for closing the detention facility was likely, “whether at Guantanamo or somewhere else.” That sounded like the first concession from a senior administration official that Guantanamo Bay wouldn’t definitely be shuttered by the deadline.
A spokesman for Johnson declined to clarify his remarks. One official who insisted on speaking anonymously told me simply, “You have the man’s transcript.” I’m still seeking clarification for whether Johnson is speaking for the administration here and will update when I have it.
Meanwhile, Lara Jakes of The Associated Press reports — I hope I can blog this — that after today’s hearing, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the committee, remarked, “What we’re focusing on is the procedures that would be used wherever they’re tried, whether they keep Gitmo open or closed.”