President Obama is getting ready to release more detainees from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to reports.
After transferring five suspected terrorists from the lockup at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, or Gitmo, the Pentagon has said that more will be transferred out in December, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The increased pace of detainee releases follows the abrupt ouster this week of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who administration officials criticized to the newspaper for moving too slowly to empty Gitmo.
Mr. Obama came into office in 2009 vowing to close down the detention center that was set up after the 9/11 attacks to lock up terror suspects outside restriction of U.S. law. But the president has been unable to fulfill the promise.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck P. McKeon raised an alarm about the uptick in notification of pending Gitmo releases at a recent hearing. Republicans have largely opposed releasing the suspected terrorists for fear that they will return to the battlefield.
Republican lawmakers also have been at odds with Mr. Obama over the notification process for transfers, after the president released five high-ranking Taliban fighters from Gitmo in May exchange for the release of captured U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
About 143 detainees remain Gitmo, which held as many as 800 suspected terrorists in the years immediately following the 9/11 attacks.