In September, U.S. State Department officials invited a foreign delegation to the Guantanamo Bay detention center to persuade the group to take detainee Tariq Ba Odah to their country. If they succeeded, the transfer would mark a small step toward realizing President Barack Obama's goal of closing the prison before he leaves office. Today, nearly 14 years since he was placed in the prison and five years since he was cleared for release by U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic officials, Ba Odah remains in Guantanamo. When Obama took office, the prison held 242 detainees, down from a peak of about 680 in 2003. Today, with little more than a year remaining in his presidency, it still holds 107 detainees. Pentagon officials denied any intentional effort to slow transfers.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.