White House 'energetically' working on transferring Gitmo detainees
June 11th, 2014
11:07 AM ET
3 months ago

White House 'energetically' working on transferring Gitmo detainees

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's national security team is pushing forward on moving detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to other countries amid outrage in Congress at the recent transfer of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

While there aren't any "imminent transfer announcement in the works," the team assigned to moving detainees is "energetically working this issue every day from Washington, foreign capitals, and places in between," according to National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

Obama last met with his Guantanamo special envoys in November. It's been a longstanding goal of Obama's to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, which requires moving prisoners detained there to other facilities.

United States law currently does not allow Guantanamo detainees to be moved to the U.S., a provision that has impeded the administration's efforts to close the prison, since detainees cannot be tried in civilian courts or moved to American prisons.

The U.S. has transferred hundreds of detainees to countries like Afghanistan, Algeria and Saudi Arabia over the past decade, though restrictions have prevented transfers to other nations. Hayden said on Wednesday that 17 detainees have been transferred since Obama renewed the case for closing Gitmo during a speech a year ago.

She added the administration is "making progress on a number of additional promising opportunities" on closing the detention facility.

That progress could be stymied by angry lawmakers, who have said they were left in the dark about the prisoner swap that led to Bergdahl's release. While law requires the White House to notify lawmakers 30 days before a detainee transfer, administration officials have said the urgency of the Bergdahl deal disallowed the month-long notification period.

The House Appropriations Committee voted this week to include an amendment in a larger spending bill that prohibits federal funds from being used to transfer detainees from Guantanamo.

And Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a measure Monday that would ban the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo while the Bergdahl case is probed.

"Until President Obama convinces the public that this swap was in our interests, all further transfers should be off the table," Cruz said.

Asked about calls on Capitol Hill for new legislation aimed at temporarily halting transfers from Gitmo, Hayden reiterated the President is committed to closing the facility.


Filed under: Guantanamo • Guantanamo Bay • White House
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. freedom

    And we're energetically working to clean out the White House! It has become a cesspool.

    June 11, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    Marcus (from...?)
    Lizzie – 'and now you want to release ALL of tem, NO PROBLEM'

    Lizzie, is the law, the international laws, that the USA follows like (most) of the rest of the countries in the world.
    If there's no war (or participation in one which seems to be the case), then there's NO REASON to have POWs. No war = No POWs, so ALL GITMO detainees will walk out.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Makes you wonder what the "usual suspects" would do with them, doesn't it?

    June 11, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @Marcus (from...?)
    Lizzie – 'and now you want to release ALL of tem, NO PROBLEM'

    Lizzie, is the law, the international laws, that the USA follows like (most) of the rest of the countries in the world.
    If there's no war (or participation in one which seems to be the case), then there's NO REASON to have POWs. No war = No POWs, so ALL GITMO detainees will walk out.
    -----------
    So Obama wants to keep a promise against partisan attacks and uphold international law.
    And conservatives want to ridicule him and change their position to look good.
    Who has the moral compass in this picture?

    June 11, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    old age voter
    The American voter will be working 'energetically' on transferring the Senate in to Republican hands and then working 'energetically' on transferring those in the White House and this administration into prison.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In other words, they'll spend two more years and countless taxpayer dollars on "investigations" and show "trials" that will amount to as much as all the "investigations" and show "trials" on which the reds have already wasted taxpayer dollars to come up with absolutely nothing – which implies incompetence on the reds' part BTW. And when all is said and done we, the people should sue the reds for repayment of the countless taxpayer dollars they spent on their meaningless "investigations" and show "trials".

    June 11, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. smith

    @Marcus-Do you really think the US follows international laws? Do you really think we weren`t holding any terrorist without charging them before the war? Ever heard of a blacksite?

    June 11, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. 2_indy1600

    Thought Karsai accused Obama of breaking international law, and working with Taliban for last four years. Pesty news.

    June 11, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Marcus (from...?)

    smith – @Marcus-Do you really think the US follows international laws? Do you really think we weren`t holding any terrorist without charging them before the war? Ever heard of a blacksite?

    Of course I know about them, and don't approve of them and supports any investigation about them.
    'Blacksites' or 'places where we will claim that we had nothing to do with what was happening inside them even being the ones behind its creation & operation' are NOT something anyone should be proud of.
    But, excuse me, we're talking about GITMO (that place that the SCOTUS said was within US jurisdiction), right?

    June 11, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    Tampa Tim
    How many American soldier's deaths were caused by the 500 Gitmo detainees under Bush? 171 returned to fight against us.
    – and now you want to release ALL of tem, NO PROBLEM
    ----------------------------–
    You cannot keep POWs locked up indefinitely, either, after the war has ended. So, what do we do with them? The right wing's position seems to be to keep them locked up. Okay, fine. Just remember that you are describing what many communist regimes have done in the past. It also means maintaining a declaration of war indefinitely, too.

    June 11, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Gunderson

    Um, "Experts",
    Just this morning there was some weak Economic News Posted. So, even tho we all want better economic news it is slow going. Not sure that so called 6.3 percent unemployment figure is nothing but a big lie. I believe it was reported that about 58.5 percent of the populous are employed. Lead on!

    June 11, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. 2_indy1600

    Guess there's no room at the inn for Bergdahl in San Antonio due to broken immigration laws, overflow of Obama enticed children who may or may not be cartel family members, and broken VA. Not a POW, although his daddy wants to "insist" he is. Of course he does.

    June 11, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Marcus (from...?)

    2_indy1600 Guess there's no room at the inn for Bergdahl in San Antonio due to broken immigration laws, overflow of Obama enticed children who may or may not be cartel family members, and broken VA. Not a POW, although his daddy wants to "insist" he is. Of course he does.

    Punish the children?
    Low men, low...

    June 11, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "You cannot keep POWs locked up indefinitely"

    Which is why Dubya et al. invented the completely meaningless, legally insignificant phrase "enemy combatant" and proceeded to pretend that these people weren't POWs (it's also pretty clear that you're not supposed to torture POWs).

    June 11, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Impeach Obama

    Obama continues his one man jihad against America and its interests at home and abroad. Impeach this lawless dictator.

    June 11, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Impeach Obama

    Obama continues his one man jihad against America and its interests at home and abroad. Impeach this lawless dictator.
    ----------------------–
    "Throw Obama out of office." "Impeach Obama." That would be a great platform for conservatives to run on, seeing how will it worked for the right back in 2012.

    June 11, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    "You cannot keep POWs locked up indefinitely"

    Which is why Dubya et al. invented the completely meaningless, legally insignificant phrase "enemy combatant" and proceeded to pretend that these people weren't POWs (it's also pretty clear that you're not supposed to torture POWs).
    -----------------------–
    But, if the POW wants to sit down and smoke some stuff with his captors, then that is just fine.

    June 11, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Tabeth

    Never seen a country when one does the best for the country but some try to undermine him at any cost publicly
    Had the american soldier died...they would again criticize him of not taking care of Americans...that kind of spirit is killing AMERICA

    June 11, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    It's hard to listen to these GOP armchair quarterbacks that never served a DAY in uniform. We should send these teliban terriost to THEIR neighborhood prisons . These are the same people who try to keep the goverment from working properly.

    June 11, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. quinLee

    I'm not sure most of you understand that this was a chess game all the while. From the very start the trade was more about Gitmo than Bergdahl.

    June 11, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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