President Obama's controversial plan to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison has been complicated by the failed plot by an al-Qaida group in Yemen to blow up an American passenger plane on Christmas Day. An estimated 100 detainees at Guantanamo are from Yemen, and about half were scheduled to be transferred back to the small impoverished country.
"Given the unsettled situation, I have spoken to the attorney general and we've agreed that we will not be transferring additional detainees back to Yemen at this time," Obama said.
President Obama's pledge to shut the prison has already faced significant criticism from Republicans who worry about where the detainees would be sent.
There are also concerns that any delay in the process of closing the prison could mean that the courts could order the government to free some of the detainees in the U.S., if no other country can be found to take them.
In this video, NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner talks to analysts about how the Yemeni threat has complicated the administration's plans to close Guantanamo Bay.
"You have a group of people, a very large percentage of the total population of Guantanamo, many of whom are, from the U.S. government's point of view, pretty scary people, and a country that is very badly positioned to manage the risks that they pose in absorbing them." - Benjamin Wittes, Brookings Institution
"I think both the Bush administration and the Obama administration tried to release people that they thought were not dangerous to the United States -- or its interests. And I think that that analysis should continue into the future, as opposed to sort of some sort of blanket." - George Clarke, Attorney
"You could imagine a situation in which the government has a choice between Yemen and Cleveland. And that's, you know, a very unappealing choice from the government's point of view." - Benjamin Wittes, Brookings Institution
1. What is terrorism?
2. How are terrorist suspects different than robbery suspects or murder suspects?
3. Should the government treat terrorists differently than other criminals?
1. What do you think of the president's decision to close Guantanamo Bay? Do you think he made the right choice? Explain your answer.
2. There is some discussion that the detainees would be housed in prisons in the U.S. What do you think about that? Would it worried you if their were detainees charged with terrorism housed in prisons in your community?
3. What are the political influences on President Obama's decision? What is he risking politically with the choices that he makes regarding Guantanamo Bay?
4. What do you think the recent developments regarding Yemen and the Christmas Day attempted bombing say about the president's counterterrorism strategies? Do you think that these problems can be avoided?