With little over two weeks left in the Obama administration, and Congress on notice of a series of looming detainee transfers, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday for a cessation of Guantánamo prisoner releases. The Obama administration swiftly rejected the request.
There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
Expect announcements of additional transfers before Inauguration Day, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. Trump will “have an opportunity to implement the policy that he believes is most effective when he takes office on Jan. 20,” he added.
Of the 59 captives currently held at the detention center, 23 are cleared for release to other countries with security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Ten are charged with crimes and the remaining 26 are held as indefinite detainees in the war on terror, or “forever prisoners.” Carter has sent notices to Congress of planned transfers for most, but not all, of the 23 cleared captives that could begin later this week.
It was unclear what prompted the president-elect to tweet on the topic with such urgency on Tuesday. “There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” the president-elect said, using the shorthand for the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”