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Report: Pres. Obama plans to release more Gitmo prisoners before he leaves office next month

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Outgoing President Barack Obama plans to release and transfer 17 or 18 of the remaining 59 prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba before leaving office next month, according to the New York Times.

The Times reports that the prisoners are set to be released to Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

By law, the Pentagon must notify Congress 30 days before a prisoner transfer, so the deadline for transferring prisoners under Obama's watch was Monday. And according to the Times, Obama already had his plan set in motion.

More from the Times:

The Bush administration brought about 780 men to Guantánamo after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, saying that it could hold Qaeda suspects there in indefinite wartime detention without trial — a move that the Supreme Court eventually approved — and that it could disregard the Geneva Conventions in how it treated them, which the court rejected.

President George W. Bush started trying to close the prison in his second term and bequeathed 242 detainees to Mr. Obama.

If Obama's request to release and transfer the prisoners gets approved, then President-elect Donald Trump will be left with 41 or 42 prisoners, 10 of whom were charged or convicted in military commissions and at least another 27 who are deemed too "dangerous" to release.

The other four or five men include at least three from countries with strong ties to radical Islam and another "whom no country offered a home," the Times reports.

According to the Times, all have been at the prison for 15 years and all are on the prisoner transfer list.

Obama promised during his campaign for president in 2008 and 2012 that he would ensure that Guantanamo Bay would be closed as president, though that never actually panned out. He has, however, released dozens and dozens of prisoners, many of which have found their way back into terrorism operations.

Trump, on the other hand, said throughout his campaign for president that he would keep Guantanamo Bay open under his watch, loading it up with "some bad dudes."

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