WASHINGTON (CN) – In his first full day in office, President Barack Obama signed executive orders that will close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp within a year, and told the CIA to close down its network of secret prisons. Obama also signed orders that bar officials in his administration from lobbying government “for as long as I am president,” repealed Bush policies on government secrecy, and froze the salaries of his senior aides – about 100 top officials in the Executive Branch.
The Guantanamo and CIA orders, the first step in undoing President Bush’s terror policies, ask for an immediate review of all prisoners still held at Guantanamo, to determine if they should be transferred, released or prosecuted.
The government secrecy orders repealed Bush policies that made it easy to deny requests under the Freedom of Information Act, and allowed president and their heirs to claim executive privilege to keep records secret.
The lobbying provisions also barred lobbyists from working for agencies they had lobbied within the past two years. The Republican National Committee immediately criticized the new president, saying his nominee for deputy secretary of defense, William Lynn, had lobbied for Raytheon, and his nominee for deputy secretary of health and human services, William Corr, had lobbied for stricter regulations on tobacco.
A senior aide told The New York Times that Lynn would get a waiver, and that Corr would not need a waiver as he agreed to recuse himself from tobacco issues.