The story

President Obama on Thursday defended his decision to shutter the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the prison has made the United States less safe and set back the country's "moral authority."

"The record is clear: Rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security," Obama said during an address on national security at the National Archives in Washington.

"It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it."

He said that the facility resulted in the creation of more terrorists than it detained, and he said that over the last seven years, the system of military commissions at Guantanamo succeeded in convicting "a grand total of three suspected terrorists." Watch Obama weigh in on Guantanamo Bay

Obama's plans to close Guantanamo have been met with opposition from both sides of the aisle in Congress. Following in the steps of House Democrats, Senate Democrats on Tuesday rejected the administration's request for $80 million to close the facility. Read full article »

CNN's Ed Henry, John King and Kristi Keck contributed to this report.

All About Barack ObamaDick CheneyGuantanamo Bay

'Extreme Challenges'
Two wars, a broken economy and historic plans the president says just can't wait. Watch a special "AC360."
Beginning at 10 ET tonight

Don't Miss