Photo Credit: AP The Obama administration intends to transfer up to 10 detainees from the Guantanamo detention center to other countries this month, a senior defense official told Defense One. These would be the first since transfers came to a pregnant pause in January.
“You’re likely to see some progress in June,” the defense official said Wednesday. “I just talked to the National Security Council and State [Department], so we can say maybe up to 10 — no specific timeframe, but in the near future. And then we’re actively engaged with a number of countries in additional negotiations regarding the 57 that are eligible. But sometime this summer, maybe June, up to 10.”
Of the prison’s 122 detainees, 57 have been cleared for transfer to other countries by the Pentagon as part of an interagency review.
Last year, the Obama administration sped up transfers in a race to empty the detention center before the Republican-led Congress could block attempts to close it. Those transfers came to a halt in January. In April, the Washington Post reported they might start again, and today, the official told Defense One that some June transfers are likely.
These would be the first prisoners to leave Guantanamo under new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. In February, he replaced Chuck Hagel, who clashed with the administration over his recalcitrance to approve transfers. Ultimately, Hagel transferred 44 Guantanamo detainees — more than half of those in the weeks before he stepped down in November. Still, that was ten times more than his predecessor, Leon Panetta, who transferred just four. (Read more from “This Is How Many Guantanamo Transfers We Can Expect in the Next Few Weeks” HERE)