White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not say Friday whether the United States pays other countries to accept in transfers from the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison, despite being asked directly twice.
The Obama administration transferred 15 prisoners earlier this month, leaving just 61 remaining at the Cuba detention facility. The 12 Yemenis and three Afghans were sent to the United Arab Emirates. Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has repeatedly stated his goal to close Gitmo.
Fox News reporter Kevin Corke, after Earnest said he didn't have advance notices of any more pending releases, asked whether the U.S. pays other countries a "fee" for detainees they're willing to take on.
"The process works by the United States working effectively with our partners around the world," Earnest said. "There are a wide variety of countries that have worked with us to ensure the safe and successful transfer of these individuals. There are extensive diplomatic negotiations involved, and in just about every case, there is an intensive discussion about what sort of security precautions are imposed to ensure that these individuals don't pose an ongoing threat to the United States."
The White House has admitted that free Guantanamo prisoners have returned to terrorist activities. The Washington Post reported in June that the administration believed at least 12 former detainees had killed a half-dozen Americans in Afghanistan alone.
Corke repeated his question, however, since Earnest had not directly addressed it.
"But does the American government pay these particular countries to take these guys?" he asked.
"Again, the result of these transfers is a product of extensive diplomatic negotiations, and there are a lot of questions that are raised about the most effective place to house this person and the most effective way to ensure that this individual doesn't pose an undue threat to the United States or our allies or interests," Earnest said. "But we don't typically get into too much detail about the kinds of requirements that are imposed on these individuals once they're transferred."