"Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Congress passed the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), which granted the President the authority 'to use all necessary and appropriate force against those ... [who] planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks' against the United States. Many persons subsequently captured during military operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere were transferred to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for detention and possible prosecution before military tribunals. Although nearly 800 persons have been held at Guantanamo at some point since early 2002, the substantial majority of Guantanamo detainees have ultimately been transferred to another country for continued detention or release. Those detainees who remain fall into three categories: (1) persons placed in non-penal, preventive detention to stop them from rejoining hostilities; (2) persons who face or are expected to face criminal charges; and (3) persons who have been cleared for transfer or release, whom the United States continues to detain pending transfer. Although the Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that Guantanamo detainees may seek habeas corpus review of the legality of their detention, several legal issues remain unsettled."
CRS Report for Congress, R40139