The Obama administration is preparing to transfer up to 24 additional detainees out of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp this summer, Fox News has learned.
The move comes as President Obama continues to try to close the camp in the face of congressional resistance. The administration so far has reduced the population from 242 detainees to 80.
But one official said the detainees remaining at the camp represent the “worst of the worst.”
The official was not confident the countries ultimately receiving these terrorists would be up to the task of keeping them locked up or even tracking them. While an Obama administration task force found many detainees should remain in U.S. custody, a new review board in 2011 looked at the cases and reached a different conclusion, though much of the evidence was the same.
The White House still maintains that closing the camp makes the most sense.
“It's a recruiting tool for those who wish to do us harm,” spokesman Eric Schultz said.
Still, the most recent issue of Al Qaeda’s propaganda magazine said it’s the Arab-Israeli conflict that drives Al Qaeda recruitment – not the detention center. The issue says: “Many have joined jihad because of the Palestinian ‘rhetoric’ compared to Guantanamo.”
Thomas Joscelyn, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and senior editor of The Long War Journal who testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill about the prison, said the push to shutter Guantanamo is “all about ideologically driven policy. It's not about the actual assessment of the risks of these individuals.”
For those countries that take transfers, Republican Sens. Mark Kirk, of Illinois, and James Lankford, of Oklahoma, have introduced an amendment to hold them accountable.
“If you take a detainee, it comes with a responsibility. That responsibility is to make sure the detainee doesn't return to the fight, or you will lose American federal aid. It's pretty straightforward,” Lankford explained.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.