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Activists protest the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in front of the White House. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Bush-era U.S. officials and military attorneys are warning against keeping the Guantánamo detention center open, saying it could waste billions of dollars, according to the Guardian.

"We've invested roughly $6.5 [billion] on detention in Guantánamo and what has it gotten us? We wasted our money....We have over a thousand troops...that could be used elsewhere. We have squandered our credibility around the world in these trials."
— Retired Colonel and former chief prosecutor Morris Davis told the Guardian

Why it matters: In President Trump's State of the Union address, he announced an executive order to keep the doors open at Gitmo, and suggested more prisoners would be added. But a former legal adviser to President Bush, John Bellinger, told the Guardian he believes that move is "more of a political bone thrown to his conservative base than any indication he will change policy."

Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.