President Barack Obama will begin overhauling US national security policy Thursday with orders to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, review military trials of terror suspects and end harsh interrogations, two government officials said.
Together, the three executive orders and a presidential directive will reshape how the United States prosecutes and questions al-Qaida, Taliban or other foreign fighters who pose a threat to Americans.
A senior Obama administration official said the president would sign an order Thursday to shutter the Guantanamo prison within one year, fulfilling his campaign promise to close a facility that critics around the world say violates domestic and international detainee rights. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the order has not yet been issued.
A draft copy of the order, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, notes that "in view of significant concerns raised by these detentions, both within the United States and internationally, prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals currently detained at Guantanamo and closure of the facility would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice."