Senator Leibell Calls For Reversal of Decision to Try Terrorists in Civilian Courts
November 18, 2009
(New York,N.Y.)-Senator Vincent L. Leibell, Chairman of the New York State Senate Minority Task Force on Homeland Security and Ranking Member on the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland security and Military Affairs, called today upon President Barack Obama and United States Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse their decision to try September 11,2001 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees in a federal court in New York City.
“This is undoubtedly one of the worst decisions made by any President in recent history”, Senator Leibell stated. “To take a foreign enemy combatant, who is a proud terrorist, who has made war against the United States, killing nearly three thousand civilians, and try him in a United States Federal Court, affording him all the rights and privileges of a United States Citizen, makes a mockery of our system of justice, devalues the meaning of citizenship for every American, and places every person in the United States in danger”, Senator Leibell continued.
“We commenced a war on terrorism for a reason. For eight years now, that war, and the brave men and women who have fought it, have prevented further attacks against our nation and its citizens. To revert back to a September 10, 2001 mind set, where terrorism can be simply be policed as a criminal justice matter, is beyond naive and extremely dangerous”, Senator Leibell declared.
“This tactic of affording foreign, enemy-combatant terrorists the same constitutional rights and rules of evidence as an American citizen, is a huge victory to all who might wish to harm America across the globe. It compromises our intelligence gathering ability, prejudices our efforts to conduct effective investigations, and gives the terrorists themselves a legal platform to exact more harm against our country”, Senator Leibell said.
“There are a host of reasons why every administration from George Washington to George Bush has tried foreign, enemy-combatants before military tribunals rather than civilian courts. A practice that has repeatedly been upheld by the Supreme Court. Everyone with any degree of experience in Homeland Security knows that this decision, announced by Attorney General Holder on Friday, is an historically destructive precedent and an extremely bad idea”, Senator Leibell stated.
“To America’s peril, before September 11, 2001, previous administrations believed that you could battle terrorism by restraining our intelligence assets and prosecuting conspirators under the criminal justice system. This mentality brought us the September 11th attacks”, Senator Leibell continued.
“While these terrorists are looking for ways to murder millions of Americans through weapons of mass destruction, this administration is looking to spank them in a courtroom. While these terrorists are committed to war, this administration seeks to invoke Marquess of Queensberry rules. While these terrorists target and attack thousands of civilians, Eric Holder and President Obama seek to restrain and punish our intelligence community and military for doing their job. Friday’s announcement will only serve to empower and embolden our nation’s enemies”, Senator Leibell concluded.
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