Tom Cotton: Send more prisoners to Gitmo
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“Guantánamo Bay is a first-rate detention facility that houses some of the world’s most hardened terrorists. It’s one of our most effective counterterrorism tools," Cotton said in a statement late Friday.
 
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"After visiting today, I remain firm in my belief that this facility should not only remain open — but that we should not shy away from increasing the number of prisoners held there," Cotton added.
 
Cotton, who caught flak this week for leading a group of 47 GOP senators in writing an open letter to Iran's leaders on U.S. negotiations over its nuclear program, has vocally opposed the Obama administration's push to draw down detention levels and eventually close the Guantánamo facility. It currently houses 122 prisoners, down from 242 in early 2009. 
 
Cotton caught headlines last month for saying of Guantánamo prisoners that "every last one of them can rot in hell," adding, "as long as they can’t do that, they can rot in Guantánamo Bay."
 
“In my opinion, the only problem with Guantánamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now,” Cotton said during a Senate Armed Services Committee then.
 
The trip to the detention facility in Cuba also comes as the administration looks to normalize relations with the nation.
 
Cotton, who served in the Army during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, toured the facility Friday along with Republican Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), James Lankford (Okla.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Mike Rounds (S.D.), who all expressed a desire to keep the facility open. 
 
Rounds said he had "no doubt" that the facility is necessary "as terrorism against American and our allies continues unabated."
 
"The men and women stationed at Guantánamo Bay play an important role in counter-terrorism efforts while making sure the detainees are treated humanely," Rounds said in a statement.