Pentagon rejects Donald Trump's call to halt Guantanamo Bay transfers

The Pentagon on Tuesday rejected a renewed call by President-elect Donald Trump to stop releasing detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"We're going to carry out the appropriate policies set forth by the commander-in-chief," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at a press conference. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter would continue to follow instructions from President Barack Obama on transferring detainees legally and safely, Cook said. When pressed about Trump's stated intentions, Cook said there is only one commander-in-chief at a time.

Related: Images of Guantanamo Bay

Trump had tweeted moments before that "there should be no further releases from Gitmo," using an alternative name for the U.S. Navy base which houses the sprawling detention, courtroom and legal facilities.

"These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield," Trump wrote.

The president-elect had established his intention to maintain and perhaps even expand the prison, which houses some of America's most notorious enemies in the post-9/11 era, as well as some men who currently are not charged but for whom the Obama administration cannot find a foreign country to take them. In August, Trump told The New York Times he would be "fine" with prosecuting U.S. citizens there. In November, he vowed to fill Guantanamo with "some bad dudes," without offering specifics.

The Washington Post on Monday published an op-ed calling on Obama and Trump to continue to work toward closing the facility.

Multiple news outlets have reported Obama is rushing to transfer as many of the remaining 59 detainees before leaving office to deliver on a campaign promise of permanently shuttering the detention facility.

Trump's pick for homeland security secretary, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, who used to oversee general operations at Guantanamo Bay as head of U.S. Southern Command, said shortly before leaving the service last year that the military would not have a problem handling any detainees who upon release would return to the battlefield.

"If they go back to the fight, we'll probably kill them. So that's a good thing," Kelly said at a press conference in January.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report