WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- The Obama administration has turned down U.N. requests to visit the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison and for data on CIA secret prisons, researchers said.
Two U.N. human rights researchers separately sought permission to visit the detention facility but were turned down, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
U.S. officials told the researchers, "We are trying to close down the institution. For the time being, we don't see it as a priority," researcher Martin Scheinin told the Post. "It was not a 'no, no.' It was a diplomatic 'no.' Let's say dialogue will continue."
The U.N. researchers also were rebuffed when they requested details on the history, locations and detainees of secret CIA prisons, researcher Manfred Nowak said.
"The answer we received from the United States is meaningless. There is no meaningful information," Nowak said. "They're just repeating that the Obama administration stopped using secret places of detention."
U.S. officials said they support the United Nations' human rights work, but are constrained when releasing information on intelligence matters, haven't closed the door on visits to Guantanamo Bay.
"The Obama administration has taken aggressive action ... from Day One, upholding our nation's fundamental values while making the American people safer," Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, said in a statement. "The president banned the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, initiated a review of all pending cases at Guantanamo and ordered that facility closed within one year."