As the President has made clear, closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is a national
security imperative. Its continued operation weakens our national security by furthering the recruiting propaganda of violent extremists, hindering relations with key allies and partners, and draining Department of Defense resources.
Of the nearly 800 detainees at one time held at Guantanamo Bay, more than 85 percent have been transferred, including more than 500 detainees transferred by the prior Administration and 147 detainees transferred by this Administration. As of February 23, 2016, 91 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay. To close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the U.S. Government is pursuing three lines of effort simultaneously:
(1) identifying transfer opportunities for detainees designated for transfer
(2) continuing to review the threat posed by those detainees who are not currently eligible for transfer and who are not currently facing military commission charges
(3) continuing with ongoing military commissions prosecutions and, for those detainees who remain designated for continued law of war detention, identifying individualized dispositions where available, including military commission prosecution, transfer to third countries, foreign prosecutions or, should Congress lift the ban on transfers to the United States, transfer to the United States for prosecution in Article III courts and to serve sentences.
Notwithstanding these efforts, the Administration expects there to remain a limited number of detainees who will not be designated for transfer, subject to ongoing military commission prosecutions, serving any adjudged sentences, or candidates for prosecution in Article III courts, and who cannot safely be transferred to third countries in the near term. For these detainees, the Administration intends to work with the Congress to relocate them from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to an appropriate site in the continental United States while continuing to identify other appropriate and lawful dispositions.
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