Defense Secretary Ash Carter told CBS Tuesday he was not confident that President Obama will close Guantanamo Bay before the end of his term.
"I’m not confident, but I am hopeful," Carter said. "I think we’ll have a good proposal, and I think we’re hoping it wins the support that it needs in Congress, so that we can move forward."
When President Obama ran for office in 2008, he promised that he would immediately close Guantanamo Bay. During his two terms, President Obama has been unable to keep that campaign promise.
Carter said the White House in preparing a proposal that would close the facility and move the remaining detainees to a secure facility on U.S. soil.
"There are people in Guantanamo Bay who cannot and should not be released because they will return to the terrorist fight," Carter said. "And therefore we need a place where we can detain them in the long term. We have been forbidden to create such a place in U.S. territory."
Congress has barred the Defense Department from using any appropriated funds to build facilities to house the Guantanamo detainees in the U.S.
At the moment, Carter said the administration is working right now on a proposal to present to Congress. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has been asking for a plan for closure from the administration for months, and Carter said Tuesday that McCain "said he'd be receptive to considering a proposal of that kind that would allow those people who cannot be released to be placed in a facility in the U.S., rather than Guantanamo Bay, and then we can close Guantanamo Bay." Carter added, "I think that's very desirable. And I think it would be nice to do that before the end of President Obama's administration so that the next President doesn't have to deal with this situation."
Carter would also like to be rid of the facility – he noted that it's "very expensive for the Defense Department to operate Gitmo. I would prefer to not have that expense."