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Obama Will Not Seek New Legislation on Holding Guantanamo Detainees 


Reports in U.S. newspapers say the Obama administration has decided against establishing a new system of preventative detention for terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Washington Post and The New York Times quote administration officials as saying they have decided they do not need additional permission from Congress to continue holding detainees at the facility.

The Justice Department said it already has the authority to hold the detainees indefinitely under a 2001 congressional resolution that allows the president to use force against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

There are currently more than 200 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, including suspects in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Many have filed suit challenging their detention without trial.

The Justice Department says its position is consistent with what the administration has said before on the issue.

Justice officials informed human rights groups of the position at a meeting last week.

The Washington Post quotes the senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, Christopher Anders, as welcoming the decision because it avoids what he describes as a "chaotic debate" that he says would have put U.S. detention policy even further outside the rule of law.

President Barack Obama has said he wants to close the Guantanamo facility by January 2010, but a decision has not been made on where to send the remaining detainees.

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