In a press conference yesterday, President Obama reiterated an early campaign platform, that the military prison at Guantanamo Bay should be closed. The president said, “It is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe, it’s expensive, it is inefficient, it hurts us in terms of our international standing, it lessens cooperation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts, it is a recruitment tool for extremists, it needs to be closed.” However, he also added, “Now Congress determined they would not let us close it.”

The statements come while conditions at the facility continue to deteriorate as 100 of the 166 inmates are participating in a hunger strike. A recent New York Times op-ed piece written by an inmate (it was dictated to his lawyer over the phone), detailed the increasingly harsh conditions at the facility where inmates were subjected to a recent crackdown following attacks on guards. In response to the hunger strike, the Navy has brought in an additional 40 medical personnel