Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said Tuesday that President Obama would risk attacks on the homeland by closing the military prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and bringing terrorist detainees to stateside prisons.
Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., during which he said Guantanamo will have to remain open so long as the United States remains in a “long war with Islamic jihad.”
Cotton said closing Guantanamo would allow terrorist prisoners to spread the ideology of Islamic jihad to individuals in the United States and spur attacks.
“Guantanamo enables us to isolate detainees who would otherwise seek to spread their ideology,” Cotton, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said.
President Obama has been pushing to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility since he took office, provoking resistance from Republican lawmakers. The Pentagon has been reviewing maximum security federal prisons in states such as Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina to assess the costs of moving prisoners held at Guantanamo and deemed to dangerous to release to stateside facilities.
Cotton warned Tuesday that hardened criminals at these so-called supermax prisons could be “radicalized” by terrorists moved there from Guantanamo.
“Moving Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. would create a federal prison population that is more dangerous, more jihadist, and more costly,” Cotton explained.