The Department of Defense published on Monday morning the transfer of Abdul Latif Nasir back to Morocco.
In 2016, the Periodic Review Board process dictated that his detention “no longer remained necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States.”
Back then, the board recommended he be authorized to return home, though officials were powerless to perform the process before the Obama administration ended. The Trump administration reaffirmed the Periodic Review Board process on Jan. 30, 2018, though did not complete Nasir’s repatriation.
Trump also transferred one prisoner throughout his time in office yet signed an executive order keeping Guantanamo open, and the final roadblock to closing the prison completely remains to decide what to do with the 40 detainees still housed within its walls.
The most infamous of that collection is undoubtedly Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a former al Qaeda member who is thought to be the architect of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He and the rest of the "9/11 five," who are likewise being held at Guantanamo, are facing the death penalty over war crime charges. They were set to stand trial in January 2021, though Congress has repeatedly blocked efforts to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the continental United States.
The review board consists of one senior career official from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State, along with the Joint Chiefs Staff and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Nasir was captured on Dec. 15, 2001, as one of 52 fighters who were caught attempting to flee to Pakistan. He was transferred to U.S. custody on Jan. 21, 2002, and was taken to Guantanamo Bay on May 3 of that year, per a U.S. Department of Defense memo from 2008 published by WikiLeaks.
He met with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and later got training at many al Qaeda training camps where he trained in explosives and poisons.
Former President George W. Bush opened the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in 2002, and at its peak, the facility housed almost 800 detainees, according to NBC News.
"They don't want it to become a dominant issue that blows up," a Biden administration official involved in the discussions told NBC News. "They don't want it to become a lightning rod. They want it to be methodical, orderly."
President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the facility throughout his campaign, yet his attempts were eventually unsuccessful. During his term, however, the number of detainees was reduced from 245 to 41.
There are 39 detainees remaining in Guantanamo Bay.