Cotton seeks better monitoring of former Gitmo detainees

Cotton seeks better monitoring of former Gitmo detainees
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Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip GOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservative politicians, pundits MORE (R-Ark.) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would encourage countries receiving Guantanamo Bay detainees to monitor them more closely in case they wish to return to the fight. 

Specifically, the bill would prohibit U.S. foreign assistance provided under the Foreign Assistance Act or Arms Export Control Act if a country receives a detainee on or after Feb. 1, 2015 and if that country appears on the administration's biannual detainee recidivist report. 

The administration's last report, released earlier this month, showed that 12 detainees are confirmed to have returned to the fight over the last year. The overall rate for confirmed and suspected recidivism is 28.6 percent.  

“President Obama seems to have little concern for what happens after a detainee leaves Guantanamo Bay. But these detainees are hardened terrorists and their release puts U.S. lives and our national-security interests at risk," Cotton said in a statement. 

"The numbers don’t lie: almost one in three detainees released from Guantanamo Bay are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight. Most recently, we’ve seen reports of former detainees joining forces with the Islamic State,” he said. 

Cotton, and other Republican colleagues, oppose the administration's efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. There are 122 remaining detainees after the president increased releases over the past several months. 

Last month, at a hearing, Cotton said "the only problem with Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now." 

“We should be sending more terrorists there. As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell. But as long as they can’t do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay,” he said. 

Cotton, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said allowing detainees to return to the fight "is unacceptable."  

"Our troops fought and captured these terrorists once; they should never have to do it again. Until President Obama stops releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees, Congress must do everything in its power to stop recidivism," he said. 

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), David Vitter (R-La.), and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma). Earlier this month, Cotton visited Guantanamo Bay with Tillis, Ernst, Lankford and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).