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Do not to try Dec 25 plotter in civilian court: Republicans

Last Updated: Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 16:28

Washington: Two influential Republican Senators on Saturday asked US President Barack Obama to reconsider his decision of trying the Christmas Day bomber in a civilian court and demanded to designate him as an enemy combatant.
Senior Republican Senators John Cornyn, member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security and Kay Bailey Hutchison wrote a letter to Obama and urged him to override the Department of Justice’s decision of trying the Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a civilian court.

They also asked Obama to designate him an enemy combatant, so that he can be interrogated to glean critical intelligence that might avert a future terrorist attack.

"It is hard to imagine a higher priority than heading off future terrorist attacks on our citizens; yet, by treating Abdulmutallab as a common criminal and handing him undeserved Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer, your administration has squandered a valuable source of intelligence and effectively made this al Qaeda member off-limits to special interrogators," Senators Cornyn and Hutchison wrote in the letter.

"Nevertheless, there is still time for you to override this reckless decision. Abdulmutallab must be placed in military custody and systematically interrogated. Doing so would leverage this rare opportunity to gain significant knowledge of modern-day al Qaeda’s current tactics, techniques and procedures. Protecting the American people from further attack at the hands of al-Qaeda must remain the highest priority here.”

“We are profoundly concerned over your administration’s decision to constrain our nation’s ability to glean intelligence from an operational al Qaeda terrorist," the
Senators wrote.

"The shortsighted decision made by the Department of Justice to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day airline bomber, as a common criminal has potentially denied our nation an opportunity to garner critical information that could be used to save many innocent American lives in the future," they said.

The two Senators also criticised Obama for not using HIG, an elite team of professional interrogators whose central mission is to question high-value terrorism suspects, in interrogation of Abdulmutallab.

"Had the special interrogators of the HIG been allowed to interrogate Abdulmutallab, instead of standard law enforcement officers, we would have likely been handed a valuable window into the training and operations of al Qaeda’s growing branch in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," they said.

"Instead, the chance to obtain this valuable intelligence has been turned into a mere bargaining chip for an Islamic terrorist in his negotiations with federal prosecutors. Your administration is now, by definition, having to negotiate with a terrorist," the letter said.


First Published: Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 16:28
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