Stymied by Congress so far, the White House is considering issuing an executive order to indefinitely imprison a small number of Guantanamo detainees considered too dangerous to prosecute or release, two administration officials said Friday.
No final decisions have been made. One of the officials said the order, if issued, would not take effect until after the Oct. 1 start of the 2010 fiscal year. Already, Congress has blocked the administration from spending any money this year to imprison the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the United States.
The administration also is considering asking Congress to pass laws that would allow the indefinite detentions, the official said.
Both of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the still-tentative issue publicly. The possibility of an executive order was first reported by ProPublica and the Washington Post.
"A number of options are being considered," one of the officials said.
Asked if the detainees would be indefinitely held overseas or in the United States, the official said: "There's not really a lot of options overseas."
Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office, said the organization strongly opposes any plans for indefinite detention of prisoners.
"We're saying it shouldn't be done at all," he said Friday.