In recent weeks, the number of detainees who are expected to be set free by the end of Obama’s tenure on January 20 has varied by news agencies from 17 to 19. Earlier this week, the White House responded to incoming President Donald Trump’s urging to stop transferring prisoners out of Guantánamo, saying it plans to liberate more detainees before Obama leaves office.
The Obama administration reportedly told Congress last month that the sitting president would reduce the population of Guantánamo, also known as Gitmo, by 19 to 40 detainees.
Now, the Daily Mail reports:
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President Obama is planning to transfer at least 22 additional Guantanamo Bay detainees out of the military detention center before he leaves office later this month, DailyMail.com has learned.
The group being released will be drawn from those held at Guantanamo – who include an accused senior al Qaeda bomb-maker, the terror group’s top financial manager, and two intended 9/11 hijackers, who have all been held in the Cuba-based U.S. detention facility for more than a decade
However, the PRB has made the decision to liberate prisoners who had already been designated too dangerous to release, which means the “forever prisoner” designation has not prevented the Obama administration from transferring out detainees.
According to the Miami Herald, the remaining 10 prisoners are still undergoing war crimes proceedings at military commissions, including six who are facing death penalty tribunals.
The Daily Mail reports:
The list of “recommended for transfer” prisoners includes a number of top al Qaeda operatives and commanders
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Some of the recommended transfers have also vowed to return to jihad if they are ever released, according to reports from US military officials. They have also threatened to assassinate the U.S. president, kill American citizens, and attack other world leaders who are allied with the West.
At least four countries — including Italy, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia — are expected to take in some of the 19 prisoners who are expected to be transferred by January 20.
On Wednesday, Reuters reports that Obama will transfer four prisoners to Saudi Arabia in the next 24 hours.
The Daily Mail notes:
Fifty-nine enemy combatants in total still remain at Guantanamo, including terror “mastermind” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, two of the “20th hijackers” for the 9/11 attacks, and the strategists behind the USS Cole bombing of 2000.
The group includes al Qaeda henchmen from around the world who are trained in lethal military tactics – ranging from sniper assassins and rocket-propelled grenade operators, to explosives and chemical weapons experts.
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According to the latest estimate by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), three out of every 10 Guantánamo detainees who have been released under both Presidents Obama and George W. Bush are suspected or confirmed to have re-engaged in terrorist activities. Some of the liberated prisoners are believed to have American blood on their hands.
The Daily Mail points out, “Some released detainees have gone back into terrorism. Four of the senior leaders in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are former Guantanamo Bay detainees that were transferred to Saudi Arabia or Sudan.”