In the past three months, the Obama administration has accelerated the pace of the so-called Periodic Review Board hearings for Guantanamo detainees.

Periodic Review Boards are administrative hearings designed to weigh the merits of keeping a detainee at Gitmo or recommending transfer from the island to third countries. The Periodic Review Boards, which are a more structured process than the Bush administration’s screening procedures, are populated with relevant interagency experts who weigh the evidence against a detainee, assess any change in circumstances in his threat level, and balance that information against arguments put forward by the detainee’s counsel.

The speed at which these hearings are now happening—the intervals between each Periodic Review Board—demonstrates that the administration is now anxious to offload as many detainees as possible before January 2017.

Hearings were held on the following dates on the following detainees, each of whom has been deemed “high” or “medium” risk to national security. The information provided for each individual comes from unclassified sources:

  • Shawqi Awad Balzuhair – May 31, 2016. A member of the “Karachi Six” and a member of al-Qaeda. He is originally from Yemen.
  • Mohamedou Ould Slahi – June 2, 2016. Well-known for his book, “Guantanamo Diary,” and once considered the most dangerous prisoner held at Guantanamo due to his position as a senior recruiter for al-Qaeda.
  • Abdul Latif Nasir – June 7, 2016. A member of the al-Qaeda explosives committee, despite denying his involvement on numerous occasions. He purchased weapons for al-Qaeda and fought for the Taliban against the Northern Alliance.
  • Abdul Zahir – June 9, 2016. Fought jihad in Tajikistan for two to three months, translated for al-Qaeda, handled funds for al-Qaeda and Taliban members, and partook in a grenade attack on Western journalists in the spring of 2003. War crimes charges against him were dismissed but may be refiled.
  • Haroon al-Afghani – June 14, 2016. There is little known about Afghani from unclassifieddocuments, but he has been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years.
  • Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani – June 16, 2016. Suspected of participating in the 9/11 attacks as the 20th hijacker but was denied entry into the United States the month prior. He swore a bayat (oath) to Osama bin Laden.

Four additional hearings are scheduled for the remainder of June for the following detainees:

  • Ravil Mingazov – June 21, 2016. A Russian national who received training on how to make explosives and use infantry equipment at the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Kara Karga, and al Farouq training camps. He was at the al Farouq terrorist training camp on 9/11.
  • Abdullah al Sharbi – June 23, 2016. Studied electrical engineering at Embry Riddle University in Arizona and received training at al Farouq in order to return to Afghanistan to teach others how to build or use the devices. He was also a translator for al-Qaeda.
  • Musab Omar Ali al-Mudwani – June 28, 2016. An al-Qaeda fighter from Yemen who trained at al Farouq.
  • Hail Aziz Ahmed al-Maythali – June 30, 2016. Assisted the Taliban and fought on the front lines for one week. He was also trained at al Farouq and Kandahar airport and was in Afghanistan during the fall of Kabul.

Very quietly, the administration announced last week that the president will no longer pursue the closure of Gitmo by executive order, Reuters reported. This news came in the midst of extensive Orlando attack coverage, thereby distracting from the president breaking his 2008 campaign promise.

Whether the administration will be able to close the controversial detention facility by January 2017 is an open question. It also depends on what “close” means, as there appears to be no plans in place to move the existing criminal trials (the military commissions) against the 9/11 co-conspirators, the USS Cole bomber, and another detainee, to the United States.

Time is running out for any significant action on closing Gitmo during this administration. No doubt, the administration hopes to transfer as many detainees as possible, as evidenced by its decision to transfer 30 of the remaining 80 detainees this summer. This flurry of Periodic Review Boards will no doubt result in more transfer recommendations. Where this ends up in January 2017 is anyone’s guess.