When President Barack Obama speaks at National Defense University Thursday, he will lay out his plans for closing Guantanamo Bay, a move seen as the beginning of a move to restart transfers of detainees out of the prison, reports the Hill.
Anonymous U.S. officials say Obama is planning to do away with the restrictions that prevent the sending of detainees to Yemen in the coming weeks, although a White House official refused to confirm the report.
“We're not commenting on press reports of transfers associated with Guantanamo,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement Wednesday.
In Thursday’s speech, Obama will make his case for the shutting of Guantanamo, which he believes has outlived its usefulness and continues to hurt U.S. interests abroad.
There are 86 detainees at Gitmo who have been cleared for release.
Congress has passed restrictions on where they can be sent, but there is a waiver that gives Obama some wiggle room if national security concerns are eased.
Obama put a halt to sending detainees to Yemen due to the instability in the country and the operations of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Critics of releasing Gitmo detainees have warned that once released, they will be free to rejoin the fight against the United States.
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