COLUMBIA, S.C. | Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she backed President Obama’s effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center but stressed the terrorist suspects would not necessarily be transferred to a military jail here.
“The president hasn’t made any decisions about where the transfers will go,” Mrs. Clinton said on a CNN candidates’ forum here, making a pitch for votes ahead of the Palmetto State primary Saturday.
Mrs. Clinton, who served as secretary of state for Mr. Obama, was put on the spot when the president announced a new plan to shut down the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer dozens of high-risk terrorist detainees to maximum security prisons in the United States, which could include the military facility in South Carolina.
The plan immediately hit opposition from Republicans in Congress, who cited longstanding bipartisan opposition to bringing captured terrorists to the United States.
“The president is trying to figure out what to do with people who are too dangerous to be released,” Mrs. Clinton said. “All I can hope is that the Congress will work with him.”
Her rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, also accused Mrs. Clinton of not always supporting the closure of GITMO.
“I’ve been on record being in favor of closing Guantanamo for a long time,” Mrs. Clinton said, adding that she agreed with Mr. Obama that the detention center served as a recruiting tool for terrorist organizations that point to it as an example of the West’s abuses again Islam.
“We don’t need to have Guantanamo hanging out there over our heads,” said Mrs. Clinton.