McConnell: Get terror case out of Ky.

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McConnell: Get terror case out of Ky.

Post by ToddS on Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:45 pm



McConnell: Get terror case out of Ky.

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McConnell says the suspected terrorists 'ought to be tried in military commissions.' | AP Photo

By POLITICO STAFF | 6/19/11 2:38 PM EDT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vehemently objected to the notion that two suspected terrorists from Iraq arrested in his home state of Kentucky should be tried in civilian courts.

The Republican, speaking Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS, told Bob Schieffer that he was aghast at the notion that Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi would be tried as civilians, not be tried as enemy combatants.

“The attorney general said the other night our biggest weapon in the war on terror was the U.S. civilian court system,” McConnell said. “I don’t know what planet he’s living on.

“If Osama bin Laden were alive today I think he would say our biggest weapon was U.S. Navy Seals. Look, foreigners are not entitled to be tried in the U.S. court system, particularly if they are enemy combatants. And that’s what these are, enemy combatants. The attorney general has the choice. He just made the wrong choice. They ought to be tried in military commissions. This is a no-brainer.”

For the safety of those who live in Kentucky, McConnell wants the suspects and trial moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Schieffer wondered about the precedent that would be set, given that the suspects were arrested in the United States.

“Well, you know, they’re enemy combatants. The things that they’re accuse of doing are in Iraq, their fingerprints were found on IEDs in Iraq. They got into this country as a mistake,” McConnell said. “These are enemy combatants. So let’s get the terminology right. These are not American citizens. They’re enemy combatants.”

The two suspects were arrested in Bowling Green, Ky., in May after what was characterized as a two-year FBI investigation. Both were admitted as refugees in 2009, in error the U.S. government now says. They are charged with conspiring to send money and weapons to Al Qaeda in Iraq, and Alwan is also charged with attacking American soldiers in Iraq.

Attorney General Eric Holder defended the notion of civilian trials in a speech Thursday to the American Constitution Society.

“We continue to see overheated rhetoric that is detached from history - and from the facts,” Holder said. “We see crucial national security tools, once again, being put at risk by those who disparage the American criminal justice system and misguidedly claim that terror suspects cannot be tried safely in our civilian courts.”

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