Pentagon announces fourth Guantánamo transfer this month

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The Pentagon announced on Monday the release of a Saudi detainee from Guantánamo Bay back to Saudi Arabia, the fourth such transfer to three different countries this month.  

Muhammed Abd Al Rahman Awn Al-Shamrani, 40, had been held at Guantánamo for 14 years, according to official documents posted by The New York Times. His release brings the facility's total population to 103.

The White House has been attempting to speed up the number of transfers in hope of closing the detention facility before President Obama's second term is up. 

The Pentagon on Jan. 6 released Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby to Ghana. On Jan. 8, Faez Mohammed Ahmed Al-Kandari was released back to his home country of Kuwait. The administration is expected to release 13 more detainees by the end of this month, according to defense officials. 

The releases come before Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, where he is expected to argue for Guantánamo's closing. 

Al-Shamrani was assessed to be a member of Al Qaeda, an extremist recruiter and possibly Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, according to the official files. He was also assessed to be "HIGH risk" and likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.

"If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law-abiding citizen, it is assessed detainee would immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities at home and abroad," his file said.

A periodic review board set up by Obama by executive order on Sept. 11 determined by consensus that the continued detention of Al-Shamrani "does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States," according to a Pentagon statement. 

The board consists of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.