President Obama says that if he could start his presidency over, he would have closed the Guantanamo Bay prison his first day.
Instead, in January 2009 he ordered the detention center for terrorism suspects shut within a year. He says the politics around closure grew increasingly tough and "people got scared by the rhetoric."
He said Wednesday that "the path of least resistance was just to leave it open." He has been able to cut the population down to 122 detainees, but Congress has blocked closure.
Lawmakers also have banned the administration from bringing detainees to the United States for imprisonment or trial.