Moves to clear Guantánamo gathering pace
Administration officials say more prisoners will be freed
But he would not go into the details of any discussions with other countries in order to allow the negotiations to proceed.
"Of the 71 who are not approved for transfer, there are 10 who are actually facing charges in the military commission system," the official said. These include the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, and his cohorts.
The other 61 prisoners have been divided into two groups – some 38 are in continued detention and eligible to have their cases reviewed, while 23 have been referred to prosecution.
US President Barack Obama has repeatedly vowed to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, which opened in January 2002 under the administration of then President George W. Bush.
But his pledge has been hampered by Congress's refusal to allow any of the inmates to be sent to US prisons for trial within the federal courts.