The question is simple:

What initiatives has Barack Obama done regarding the issue of torture and indefinite detention (as infamously done at Guantanamo Bay)?

  • Are you asking about Guantanamo Bay Prison specifically or about indefinite detention in general?
    – user1530
    Jun 21, 2013 at 4:05
  • Are you asking what actions he has done that might increase/enhance it as well? It isn't clear if you are only interested in reduction/elimination actions by Obama. As DA. points out, is this regarding USA torture and indefinite detention? (Only of suspected terrorists, what about judges who can do the same with "contempt of court?")
    – user1873
    Jun 21, 2013 at 14:42
  • @user1873 I'm asking for all sides it. When writing this question, I was being deliberately ambiguous, so that It wouldn't look like I was soliciting for a particular side. Jun 21, 2013 at 14:45
  • I think the term proactively changes the tone of the question from constructive to opinion. Has he done anything to change the status quo from the previous admin is different from has he done anything to make it better before it got bad and needed fixed. Jun 25, 2013 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


In regards to Guantanamo Bay Prison specifically, President Obama has been attempting to close it for several years. Various things have prevented it from being carried out. Wikipedia has a fairly good history of the closing attempts.

Some more recent news: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/14/house-defense-bill-obama-guantanamo

In terms of torture, the issue is likely about 'enhanced interrogation'. The wikipedia page covers the various opinions on it. Pertaining specifically to Obama, the aforementioned wikipedia page mentions a few items. Two of them from the article:

  • President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder stated certain of the techniques are torture, and repudiated their use
  • On January 22, 2009 President Obama signed an executive order requiring the CIA to use only the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the United States Army Field Manual on interrogations "unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance."[155]

There is also 'extraordinary rendition' which is "is the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one country to another" and was allegedly used as a loophole to allow the interrogation of prisoners in countries that have lax torture regulations. Obama signed an executive order soon after taking office to put some tighter rules on the process.

  • Doesn't the USA "rendition" prisoners to other countries when they want to use enhanced interrogation techniques?
    – user1873
    Jun 21, 2013 at 5:13
  • @user1873 good addition. I'll add a bit about that.
    – user1530
    Jun 21, 2013 at 5:36
  • 1
    The Special Task Forces that are formed to determine if a prisoner should be extraordinarily renditioned, do they ever say no, or are they like the NSA FISA court?
    – user1873
    Jun 21, 2013 at 14:01
  • I'm not sure. Perhaps that'd make a good question for the site.
    – user1530
    Jun 21, 2013 at 15:10

Regarding indefinite detentions, he signed into law the NDAA last year and again this year with a clause allowing indefinite detention of anyone deemed a terrorist suspect. He has paid lip service to the disapproval of these provisions, but refused to actually exercise his power to veto either time until such provisions are removed.

  • To be fair, asking a president to veto defense spending budgets is never popular--especially during a time of war.
    – user1530
    Jun 21, 2013 at 15:12
  • @DA. - Line Item Veto
    – user4012
    Jun 22, 2013 at 4:52
  • 2
    @dvk Obama isn't allowed. A bit of trivia: Clinton was the only modern era president with line-item veto power: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line-item_veto#Federal_government
    – user1530
    Jun 22, 2013 at 5:35
  • @DA. - that's worth a Q&A. I missed it when they removed that
    – user4012
    Jun 22, 2013 at 15:08

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