White House 'energetically' working on transferring Gitmo detainees
June 11th, 2014
11:07 AM ET
4 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    I don't know why republicans are outraged. It was a campaign promise of the POTUS shut Gitmo down and it's about time we see some action being taken. As far as that foreigner Rafael "Ted" Cruz, we should transfer him to Gitmo after costing this country $24 billion dollars. Show me your papers Rafael!!!

    June 11, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. Jeff O'Dette

    Who cares what cruz says. He gonna b the next cantor. BYE BYE. Loser.

    June 11, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    He's just turning them all loose.........to go back and attack Americans AGAIN!

    June 11, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Thomas

    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.

    Ted Cruz is back and he is making his move , now that he is no longer a Canadian ,he can read us Green Eggs and Ham in American .

    Ted Cruz / Marco Rubio 2016
    A Cuba with out GTMO is not a free Cuba ?

    June 11, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    Thomas
    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.

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

    It'll be interesting to see what happens if this probe goes beyond the official end of the "war" when the U.S is REQUIRED to release them.

    June 11, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Hector Slagg

    Um, Sorry,
    Obummer is trying to keep his promise to close "Gtimo" before the walls close in on his Administration. One should not make promises one cannot keep. Like, I will cut the deficit in half in my first term or I will not run for a second term. And, lessee, unemployment will be at or below 6.7 percent or I will not run for a second term. And last but not least, If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan, period.

    Sorry Dutch/Bad News, Va. Republicans aren't outraged, just correct. But don't take my word for it, just open your eyes.

    June 11, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "He's just turning them all loose.........to go back and attack Americans AGAIN!"

    #Bush171Obama7

    June 11, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "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."

    Sounds like a constitutional overreach to me, particularly in light of how Gitmo was set up in the first place and the expansion of executive authority it represented at the time...to which Congress acquiesced and, in some ways, in which it participated. Have fun trying to put those turds back in the dog, dummies.

    June 11, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    @ Hector Slagg

    The unemployment rate is at 6.3%. Is that a bad thing?

    June 11, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. showard

    sorry Hector,I never take anyone seriously who calls people childish names. Take my word for it.

    June 11, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    How many American soldier's deaths were caused by the 500 Gitmo detainees under Bush? 171 returned to fight against us.

    June 11, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Hector – Under Obama, the deficit is less than half of what it was under Bush. Cliven Bundy's buddy, Sean Hannity is lying to you.

    June 11, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Hector – When given the republican alternative, American voters overwhelmingly reelected President Obama.

    June 11, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    If the house republicans had passed the senate's bipartisan jobs bill, unemployment would be under 5.5%.

    June 11, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    -next to Eric are Mitch, John, Lindsey. They all lose like any thing. Democrats win landslide to house, senate. No one with brain supports trash of republicans anymore.

    June 11, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Hart

    Good prospect pool for some of the new white house czars.

    June 11, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    Rick McDaniel

    "He's just turning them all loose.........to go back and attack Americans AGAIN!"

    Yes, we should keep them indefinitely like we did the POW's from Germany and Japan, right? Oh wait, we didn't. We let them go. They still haven't attacked us and that was almost 70 years ago.
    Man, ol king george and his crew did a real good job of scaring the bejeesus out of you pitiful little republicants didn't he.

    Don't worry. We Dems will protect you. Obama has kept us safe for his entire Presidency....
    He got Osama Bin Laden, I'm sure he can stop that 3rd grader from taking your lunch money...
    rube.

    June 11, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Oh goodie, now that the Canadian born terrorist thinks he became a REAL US citizen by denouncing his REAL country of birth, CANADA, he thinks we care about what he now has to say?
    Send him back to Canada. We don't want him in the US anyway.
    The WH has been trying to do this for years but the teaklan obstructionists with this fool as their faux leader have stopped it every time.
    Gerrymander his home district so they can get rid of him and he can go back to Canada if they want him but I doubt it. Mexico or Cuba might be better for him. Nah, he has become a man without a country and like the Gitmo detainees nobody wants him.

    June 11, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. tom l

    Tampa,
    Do you know the difference between the debt and the deficit? A deficit still means we are spending more than we are taking in, fyi. Your posts never seem to recognize that fact.

    June 11, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    More embassy deaths, more dangerous terrorists released, and WAY more war deaths under Bush.
    Obama was a step in the right direction.
    Don't let the GOP take us backwards.

    June 11, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. 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

    June 11, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. 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.

    June 11, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. 2_indy1600

    Money to Qatar for future world cup, afghan elections in four days, DOJ decision tor prisoner transfer. Any more questions? Lots.

    June 11, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. 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.

    June 11, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    On today's episode of "As the Bubble Turns"...

    Article climbs onto intertubes: "Poll shows 54% of people hold a favorable view of HRC..."

    Comment enters, stage right, under article: "but Hillary is not liked period."

    And scene...

    June 11, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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