President Barack Obama excoriated Congress in a letter Thursday for refusing to cooperate with his plans to shutter Guantanamo Bay.
By the time Obama exits the White House Friday, there will be 41 prisoners still held at Gitmo, breaking his initial 2008 campaign promise to close the facility, Politico reports.
For Obama, that Congress decided to fight him relentlessly every step of the way on Guantanamo shows that representatives have abandoned their responsibility to the American people.
“Members of Congress who obstruct efforts to close the facility, given the stakes involved for our security, have abdicated their responsibility to the American people,” Obama wrote. “They have placed politics above the ongoing costs to taxpayers, our relationships with our allies, and the threat posed to U.S. national security by leaving open a facility that governments around the world condemn and which hinders rather than helps our fight against terrorism.”
The Obama administration has succeeded in transferring 196 prisoners out of the facility. Some 50 of those transfers took place in 2016 alone.
Despite Obama’s criticisms, legislators have maintained that releasing hardened prisoners back out into the open threatens national security, citing a 30 percent suspected or confirmed recidivism rate. That is, out of all detainees released, 30 percent are believed or confirmed to be right back in the terror promotion game.
In a last-ditch transfer, the Pentagon moved an additional four inmates out of Gitmo on Thursday. Three of the prisoners are headed to the United Arab Emirates and the other to Saudi Arabia.
GOP President-elect Donald Trump has a much different vision for Gitmo and as recently as Jan. 3 criticized further transfers from the facility.
“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” Trump tweeted. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”
Trump pledged to keep the facility open in November and further, to fill it back up with “bad dudes.”
“This morning, I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open,” Trump said in November. “Which we are keeping open … and we’re gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we’re gonna load it up.”
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