"Guantanamo is a secure. state-of-the-art facility. It's got courtrooms for military commissions. Everyone who visits is impressed with it," he said. "Even the administration acknowledges that Guantanamo is humane and well-run. Americans want these men kept out of their backyards and off the battlefield. Guantanamo guarantees it."
FBI Director Robert Mueller fueled the concerns sparked by Republicans.
In testimony before a House panel today, Mueller said he could not get into specific discussions about releasing Guantanamo detainees into the United States, but he told the panel, "The concerns we have about individuals who may support terrorism being in the United States run from concerns about providing financing, radicalizing others. ... All of those are concerns."
"There is a potential for radicalization in a number of ways, whether it be for gang activity, for terrorist groups, for other extremists," he said.
Mueller used an analogy with gangs that pose threats in U.S. prisons and are able to recruit from within the prisons, saying, "There are individuals in our prisons today who operate gangs inside our prisons."
The Senate will also consider two Republican amendments with more far-reaching consequences.
First is a proposal by McConnell that would require a threat assessment on any detainee before he is released from Guantanamo Bay or moved anywhere, not just the United States. The assessment would address the prospects for recidivism -- whether the detainee would return to the battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Second is a proposal from Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe that would explicitly ban the administration from using any money in this bill, or past bills, to move Gitmo detainees to the United States.
Both of these measures stand a good chance of passing and, therefore, putting the Senate on record in opposition an issue that tops Obama's national security agenda.
Obama seemed to answer some of the concern among his party members about the detainees when he announced last week that he would re-instate a system of military tribunals originally enacted by President Bush to try detainees by a military court.
While Obama promised to retool the tribunals and account for more rights for the detainees undergoing trial, many civil libertarians criticized the move.
Lately, some of the loudest voices against moving detainees to the United States have been Democrats. Virginia Sen. Jim Webb -- whose state would likely host detainees if they were to be tried in the American criminal justice system instead of on Cuba -- said Sunday on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" that he would not support bringing detainees stateside.
"I think Guantanamo has become the great Rorschach test of how we feel about international terrorism. We should at the right time close Guantanamo, but I don't think that it should be closed in terms of transferring people here," he said.
Other Democrats have stuck up for Obama and argue that the American prison and judicial systems are more than capable of handling detainees. International terrorists like Zacharias Moussoaui, the so-called 20th hijacker of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, along with people convicted of the 1993 attacks are in U.S. prisons already.