An update on this post – Obama sneaks Somali terrorist into U.S. over July 4 weekend for civilian trial – via 23 senators press Pentagon chief on terror suspect – Political News – bellinghamherald.com.
WASHINGTON Senators pressed the Obama administration Wednesday on why a suspected Somali terrorist will be tried in a civilian court in New York and not the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, 23 lawmakers questioned whether the administration’s actions in the case of Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame go against Congress’ wishes that military commissions handle the trials of terrorism suspects.
The lawmakers, including Republican leaders, also asked Panetta whether the administration has a policy for handling high-profile suspects.
“The American people must be assured that terrorists are not brought into the United States for trial only to be released as a result of an acquittal, a short sentence, or some other action such as inability of the United States to deport an individual that allows the terrorist in the United States to remain here and be released into the general population,” the lawmakers wrote.
The senators cited recent congressional testimony from Vice Adm. William McRaven, who said decisions are made case by case on where to hold suspected terrorists captured by the U.S. military outside of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The lawmakers noted that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, also have told Congress that there is no single policy.
“We believe this is an intolerable situation,” the senators wrote.
They asked 11 questions, including whether Guantanamo was an option, whether detainees held at sea had been transferred to another country and whether the administration has a consistent policy.
Among those signing the letter were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Joe Lieberman, independent of Connecticut; and Jim Webb, D-Va.
Last week, McConnell accused the administration of undermining national security by bringing Warsame into the United States.
“The administration has purposefully imported a terrorist into the U.S. and is providing him all the rights of U.S. citizens in court,” McConnell said. “This ideological rigidity being displayed by the administration is harming the national security of the United States of America.”
Meanwhile, McConnell is finding his own way to skirt Congressional approval – on raising the debt ceiling. Someone should press him on the harm he’s doing – and voters should end his political career.