via Terror Suspect Brought to U.S. for Trial, Breaking From Trump Rhetoric – New York Times
PHILADELPHIA — The Trump administration has brought a man suspected of belonging to Al Qaeda to the United States to face trial in federal court, backing off its hard-line position that terrorism suspects should be sent to the naval prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, rather than to civilian courtrooms.
The suspect, Ali Charaf Damache, a dual Algerian and Irish citizen, was transferred from Spain and appeared on Friday in federal court in Philadelphia, making him the first foreigner brought to the United States to face terrorism charges under President Trump. The authorities believe that Mr. Damache was a Qaeda recruiter. He was charged with helping plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons.
With Mr. Damache’s transfer, Attorney General Jeff Sessions adopted a strategy that he vehemently opposed when it was carried out under President Barack Obama. Mr. Sessions said for years that terrorism suspects should be held and prosecuted at Guantánamo Bay. He has said that terrorists did not deserve the same legal rights common criminals and that such trials were too dangerous to hold on American soil.
But the once-outspoken Mr. Sessions was uncharacteristically quiet on Friday. He gave a speech one block away from the Philadelphia courthouse where Mr. Damache appeared and did not address the case. The Justice Department issued only a brief news release, and a spokesman, Ian Prior, said in a statement that Mr. Damache was indicted in 2011 in federal court but did not acknowledge the attorney general’s yearslong criticism or answer questions about whether those opinions have changed.
Mr. Damache, 52, was arrested in Ireland in 2010, but he was released after an Irish judge rejected a request from the United States to extradite him. He was arrested again in 2015 in Spain. Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department began seeking his extradition, and that effort continued under Mr. Trump.
For years, Republicans portrayed civilian trials as a weakness in Mr. Obama’s national security policy.
Mr. Damache was wanted in connection with a failed attempt to kill a Swedish cartoonist who had depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body. His identity surfaced in the high-profile case of Colleen LaRose, who became known as “Jihad Jane.” Ms. LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pa., pleaded guilty in 2011 to providing support to a terrorist group, conspiring to murder a foreigner and lying to the F.B.I. She was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison.
Mr. Damache was charged with conspiracy to support terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.
Agents and prosecutors hope Mr. Damache’s case is the first of many transfers to the United States. Counterterrorism officials are trying to resolve the case of a Qaeda suspect being held in Yemen and have other similar cases in the pipeline. “The United States has consistently used the extradition process to obtain indicted fugitives who are overseas, so that they can stand trial in our federal courts,” Mr. Prior said.
Career prosecutors and F.B.I. agents have tried to make the case inside the Justice Department for using civilian courts, arguing that the Trump administration’s rigid stance made it hard to bring terrorists to justice. Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general and a career federal prosecutor, told Congress before his confirmation that he supported using federal courts for terrorism prosecutions.
The often fake-news New York Times forgot to mention that the deal to extradite Damache to the U.S. was agreed to in February 2016 under the Obama administration. Our post from more than a year ago via US bringing another foreign Muslim terrorist into country for trial.
It’s a bad idea no matter who is president and presumably Trump/Sessions could have cancelled it but it’s yet another bad Obama deal with another country that Trump is upholding.
Hopefully there won’t be others. We don’t need the world’s Muslim terrorists recruiting jihadis in American prisons…at American taxpayer expense.
More at Philly.com Terror suspect in ‘Jihad Jane’ case extradited to Philly.