U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking to suspend military trials for terror suspects at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Late on Tuesday as party-goers were leaving the festive inaugural balls, President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates directed that a motion be filed to suspend the Guantanamo trials for 120 days. A halt to the proceedings would give the Obama administration the chance to review the entire military tribunal system for Guantanamo, which has been widely criticized by human rights groups.
Judge suspends trial of Canadian accused of killing US soldier
Military judges are considering the motion Wednesday. A military judge has already issued a written order suspending the trial of Canadian Omar Khadr. He is accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade in Afghanistan in 2002. More orders are suspected later in the day, which could affect 21 pending cases, including cases against five men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Some relatives of victims of the attacks have called for the trials to proceed without further delay.
President Obama has said he will close the military prison at Guantanamo, where the United States still holds about 245 men.
Mr. Obama signaled in his inaugural speech on Tuesday that he plans to take U.S. foreign policy in a new direction.
"Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more," he said.
President to re-evaluate Iraq, Afghanistan
Later on Wednesday, the new president is expected to meet with his top national security and military advisors to start re-evaluating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout the presidential campaign, candidate Obama promised a 16-month withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq and a new look at how the war in Afghanistan is being fought.
By the end of the day, Mr. Obama might have a secretary of state. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will vote Wednesday afternoon on Hillary Clinton's nomination as the country's top diplomat.
Shortly after Mr. Obama became president, the Senate approved six members of his Cabinet, but delayed for one day a vote on Mrs. Clinton. Republican Senator John Cornyn said he had concerns about foreign donations to the foundation led by Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Obama will also tackle the economic crisis on Wednesday. He is expected to meet with his economic advisers and issue new regulations, forcing institutions that receive government rescue money to be more transparent about how it is spent.