Policy & Strategy

Report: Obama to restart Gitmo transfers

The Obama administration plans to restart transfers of
detainees out of Guantánamo Bay as part of President Obama’s efforts to close
the prison, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The president is planning to lift the restrictions on
sending detainees to Yemen in the coming weeks, the Journal reports, citing
unidentified U.S. officials.

A White House official would not confirm the report that the administration will lift the Yemen restrictions.

“We’re not commenting on press reports of transfers
associated with Guantanamo,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a
statement Wednesday.

{mosads}In a speech at National Defense University on Thursday, Obama will lay out his case for closing Guantánamo, which he has said is no longer
necessary and hurts U.S. interests abroad.

Obama will also touch on the legal justification for using
drones to target terrorists in his speech. Attorney General Eric Holder told
Congress Wednesday that the U.S. has killed four Americans in drone attacks, in
the first public admission by the Obama administration.

The president signed an executive order in his first term to
close Guantánamo, but he generated little momentum to do so amid congressional
opposition.

Gitmo opponents in Congress have urged Obama in recent weeks
to do what he can on his own to release detainees in the prison to third countries.

There are 86 detainees at Guantánamo who have been cleared
for release. Congress has passed restrictions on where the detainees can be
sent, but there is a waiver that gives the administration some leeway if
national security concerns are allayed.

The instability in Yemen and the operations of al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) led the administration to stop sending detainees to
Yemen.

Critics of releasing Gitmo detainees have warned that released
detainees will be allowed to rejoin the fight against the U.S.

Tags Eric Holder

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