- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Barack Obama vowed in 2008 that he would close down Guantanamo Bay. With a week left in his presidency, he’s come dangerously close to delivering on that campaign promise.

As the Islamic terrorist threat continues to plague America — the widow of the Orlando nightclub shooter was arrested Monday for aiding and abetting her husband’s material support of the Islamic State — Mr. Obama is looking for ways to set jihadists free.

On Monday, Mr. Obama transferred 10 more detainees from the military prison to Oman, reducing Guantanamo’s prison population to 45. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia agreed to resettle four detainees, and The New York Times predicts several more transfers are expected in the “coming days.”

President-elect Donald Trump has made a call to stop more Gitmo transfers, and he’s right in doing so — because although Mr. Obama is hurrying to free these international criminals, his administration has done nothing to prevent their recidivism.

Last year, Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard pointed out, at the time, of the 653 released detainees at Guantanamo, 117 returned to the fight against the U.S., and 79 more were suspected of doing so — meaning nearly one-third were unable to make the break and be rehabilitated from their terrorist past.

The 30 percent recidivism number holds true today, according to senior Pentagon officials.

The Obama administration has had trouble finding countries — especially in the Middle East and in Northern Africa — that can provide the security assurances demanded by the Defense Department to transfer the detainees.

In 2012, Mr. Obama cleared Ibrahim al Qosi as a low-level risk out of Gitmo and to the Sudan. Last year, Mr. Qosi reemerged as a top leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to congressional leaders.

Cully Stimson, a former Bush-era official responsible for detainee policy at the Pentagon, told the Miami Herald in November, he predicts that Gitmo transfers will stop the day Trump takes office.

“If you’re not off the island by the moment he’s sworn in, I don’t think you’re leaving for a while unless he decides otherwise. That’s the president’s prerogative,” Mr. Stimson, who runs the National Security Program at the Heritage Foundation, told the Herald after Mr. Trump’s win.

That would be a relief.

Because Mr. Obama has nine more transfers he’d like to make before Jan. 20 — and it appears as though his administration is working furiously in order to make those transfers happen.

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