As Barack Obama prepared to enter the final year of his presidency, he sat down for an interview with Olivier Knox to discuss a bold new policy change. He had announced a year earlier that the United States would be ending its decades-long isolation of Cuba and seeking rapprochement with the authoritarian Communists who run the island nation 90 miles from Florida. In this December 14, 2015, interview, Obama described his new approach in greater detail. The change he proposed dominated headlines for days.
There was other big news in the interview—though this the media didn’t treat as such. The president declared that he remained committed to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, despite strong objections from Republicans and some Democrats. Obama had campaigned in 2008 on closing Guantánamo and as one of his first acts upon taking the oath of office signed Executive Order 13492 directing his national security team to shutter the facility within a year:
The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.