Some Democratic lawmakers, however, applauded the certification and called on the Obama administration to work to transfer out the 84 other detainees who have been cleared. "At a cost of $454 million annually — or $2.7 million per detainee — it is in the national security interests of the United States to transfer these detainees to their home countries rather than keep them at our isolated military base in Cuba," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement.
Despite Obama's effort to shutter the prison, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress have repeatedly resisted. The House voted 247-175 Tuesday to reject an amendment that would have allowed Obama to begin closing the facility.
At his speech in May, Obama announced several steps to move detainees out of Guantanamo, including a lifting on the ban of transfers to Yemen because of security concerns there and the appointment of senior officials at the State and Defense departments responsible for negotiating transfers.
Last month, Washington attorney Clifford Sloan was named to reopen the State Department's Office of Guantanamo Closure, but the Pentagon official has yet to be announced. William Lietzau, deputy secretary of defense for detainee affairs, who has been the top Pentagon adviser on Guantanamo, told Pentagon colleagues Thursday that he's leaving to take a position in the private sector.
Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Miami and Donna Cassata and Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.
Follow Nedra Pickler on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nedrapickler
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.