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Lieberman Urges Obama To Keep Gitmo Open

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is calling on President Barack Obama to reverse his pledge to close the Guantanamo prison facility for terrorist suspects and unlawful combatant detainees.

Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is the first senior member of the Senate's Democratic caucus to call for Guantanamo to remain open.

His position isn't surprising, however, since on national security issues he's frequently aligned with Republicans, one reason he was forced to become an independent in 2006 after losing his state's Democratic primary.

NPR's David Welna reports:

WELNA: Connecticut Independent Senator Joe Lieberman's call to keep Guantanamo open follows moves by Congress to deny President Obama funds for shutting down the facility until he offers a detailed plan for doing so. In an interview, Lieberman said the President should reconsider his decision to close Guantanamo.

LIEBERMAN: The president had a good intention in saying that he would close Guantanamo, because Guantanamo has become a symbol for past bad behavior by the United States. But maybe we just have to say 'Look, today it's as humane a facility as you're gonna find for prisoners of war' and we have to explain to the rest of the world that that's the place we have chosen to keep prisoners of war.

WELNA: Many GOP lawmakers have also demanded that Guantanamo remain open. Two days after taking office, President Obama ordered its shutdown within a year .

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