By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 06/08/14 01:20 PM EDT
The Obama administration has cleared 78 low-risk detainees for release from Guantánamo but has stalled for fear of a political backlash, according to a report published Sunday.
The Periodic Review Board, an interagency review of military and national security agencies, has so far cleared 78 of the remaining 149 detainees at its detention facility in Guantánamo Bay to be released to their home countries or a third country.
However, according to ABC News, an anonymous Obama administration official says the process has been stalled for fear of political backlash and has been made worse because of the recent exchange of five Taliban fighters for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
The low-risk detainees are described as former Taliban and al Qaeda cooks, drivers and bodyguards.
President Obama, who has repeatedly promised to close the facility, is required to give 30 days notice before releasing detainees.
On the Sunday morning political talk shows, Republicans reiterated the detainees released for Bergdahl were dangerous and warned that 30 percent of detainees who had been released had rejoined the fight against the U.S.
“One notorious recidivist, Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan soon after his 2007 release from Gitmo,” notes the New York Post in its coverage. “He was blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.”