Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed Wednesday that President Obama cannot legally move detainees from Guantanamo Bay to any United States territory.
"That is the state of the law," Lynch told a House Appropriations Committee panel, citing defense legislation signed into law by Obama last year.
"It's certain that we would be prohibited from doing so. I'm not aware of any efforts to do so at this time, in any event," she said in response to a question about the Pentagon's plan to close the 15-year old detention facility in Cuba.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon sent a plan to Congress that would close Guantanamo and send nearly three-dozen of the remaining 91 detainees to other countries, while the remainder would be sent to a to-be-determined facility in the U.S.
However, last year, Congress barred the Obama administration from using federal funds to build or modify a facility on U.S. soil to house those remaining detainees.
Closing Guantanamo Bay still is a "goal" of the president, Lynch said.
"The administration is committed to closing that and of course we support those efforts," she said.