- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump urged President Obama to hold off on any final transfers from Guantanamo Bay, saying Tuesday that the detainees still being held are “extremely dangerous people.”

The administration has signaled it is trying to transfer nearly 20 of the remaining detainees before Mr. Obama leaves office, making as much headway as possible on the president’s 2008 campaign promise to shutter the prison.

“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”

That sentiment is in keeping with Mr. Trump’s stance during the campaign, where he went to communities that Mr. Obama was eyeing as landing spots for detainees, and vowed to fight transfers.

Federal law prohibits any detainees being brought to the U.S. It allows them to be shipped to other countries willing to take them — but imposes tight restrictions.

Mr. Obama has ignored those restrictions in at least one instance, swapping a handful of detainees for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl without giving Congress a heads-up.

Late last year the administration, complying with notification laws, reportedly informed Congress it plans to transfer as many as 19 of the 59 detainees still being held in the facility on Cuba.

The men have all been cleared by the U.S. government for transfer and aren’t likely to be tried.

But Mr. Trump has said he would keep the prison open, saying those in it are dangerous.

Last year the administration admitted to Congress that former detainees released from the prison had been responsible for the deaths of Americans overseas. Those detainees were all reportedly released under the Bush administration.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Mr. Obama remains the president and the Defense Department will follow his, not Mr. Trump‘s, wishes.

“There is one commander in chief at a time and the secretary of Defense will continue to carry out his responsibilities as he sees appropriate,” the spokesman said.

• Carlo Munoz contributed to this article.

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