The Pentagon has missed a deadline for coming up with new policies regarding detainees captured on the battlefield and the transfer of those individuals to Guantanamo Bay, a deadline set by a January 30 executive order signed by President Donald Trump.
“The Department of Defense is in the final stages of providing a recommendation to the White House on policies regarding the disposition of individuals captured in connection with an armed conflict. This includes policies governing transfer of individuals to the detention facility at US Naval Station Guantánamo Bay,” a US defense official told CNN on Tuesday.
Trump’s executive order said Secretary of Defense James Mattis should “recommend policies to the President” on this issue “within 90 days.”
Asked about the deadline, Mattis told reporters Monday that “right now I’m not working that issue.”
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have captured over 400 foreign fighters during their campaign against ISIS, according to US defense officials. One of those detainees included a militant with links to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“We have been engaging with their home countries. Home being the country they were a citizen of when they left to go fight. Now, in some cases, those countries have stripped them of their citizenship, so they have a different view as far as what their status is today. So this is not simple,” Mattis said of the foreign fighter detainees.
“Now that’s being worked principally, of course, by State Department, and we’re giving all the support that we can,” he added.