President Barack Obama was to sign Thursday a series of executive orders to close the Guantanamo “war on terror” prison, end harsh interrogation tactics and shutter secret prisons, marking a dramatic reversal of policy from his predecessor.
The announcement that Obama would close Guantanamo within a year and issue more intelligence policy changes came after a whirlwind first full day in power, when Obama also dove into tricky Middle East diplomacy and ordered a troop drawdown in Iraq.
The new president, determined to honor his vow to forge fundamental political change, also called in top economic chiefs for a progress report on the dark domestic crisis he inherited from George W. Bush.
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From Thursday, he will have his top foreign policy lieutenant on the job: Hillary Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate on a 94-2 vote Wednesday and the Middle East will top her agenda of problems.
The president was to kick off the day by signing an executive order that would start the process of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, a White House official said.