Obama Putting His Stamp On Foreign Policy - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Obama Putting His Stamp On Foreign Policy

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama put his stamp on U.S. national security and foreign policy on Thursday, moving quickly to repudiate programs of his predecessor. The man he tapped to oversee the intelligence community promised Congress he would not allow torture or wiretapping without a warrant.

On his second full day in office, Obama planned to sign an order shutting down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Obama was also ready to trumpet Hillary Rodham Clinton's installation as secretary of state while turning to veteran politician and dealmaker George Mitchell to guide the new administration through the Mideast thicket.

Retired Adm. Dennis Blair, the incoming director of national intelligence, told a congressional committee that the jail at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, must be closed because it is "a damaging symbol to the world."

Obama planned to sign an order that would shutter the prison within a year, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the order has not yet been issued. This would redeem a promise that Obama frequently made on the campaign trail.

The new look to U.S. foreign policy will be overseen by four former senators - Obama and Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, who served together until after this year's election, and Mitchell, who served much earlier as Senate majority leader.

Obama was going to the State Department Thursday to join Clinton in addressing diplomats there and - very likely - setting forth major elements of the administration's emerging national security strategy.

The U.S. naval facility at Guantanamo has been a major sore point for critics around the world who say it violates domestic and international detainee rights.

The executive order on Guantanamo was one of three expected on how to interrogate and prosecute al-Qaeda, Taliban or other foreign fighters believed to threaten the United States. The administration already has suspended trials for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo for 120 days pending a review of the military tribunals.

Blair, who will oversee the CIA, National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies, told the Senate Intelligence Committee one of his main responsibilities will be rebuilding the American people's trust in the nation's intelligence agencies.

"The intelligence agencies of the United States must respect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people, and they must adhere to the rule of law," Blair said.

Obama also had in hand executive orders to review military trials of terror suspects and end harsh interrogations, a key part of plans that had been assembled even before Obama won the election on Nov. 4.

"In view of the significant concerns raised by these detentions, both within the United States and internationally, prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals currently detained at Guantanamo and closure of the facility would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice," said the draft executive order that would close Guantanamo. The draft was obtained by The Associated Press.

The Obama-Clinton meeting at the State Department later Thursday was to include Biden and national security adviser Jim Jones and his deputy.

Obama's State Department address could provide an opening for him to plunge into the Middle East conflict.

He has been reluctant to get ahead of the process, saying frequently during the post-Election Day transition period that the country should be speaking with a single voice on foreign affairs and there could only be one president at a time.

For that reason, Obama stood down from much substantive talk on the terrorist attack on Mumbai, India, and the surge of new violence on the Gaza Strip, although he voiced concern about the loss of life in both situations.

The State Department visit also could be the setting for Obama to announces the appointment of Mitchell, the former Senate Democratic leader, as his special envoy to the region.

Mitchell, credited with arranging a peace accord in Northern Ireland, played the special envoy role for former President Bill Clinton and has handled other delicate diplomatic assignments since leaving the Senate in 1995. The White House has been preparing an announcement of the new mission for Mitchell, said diplomatic officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.

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