- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Republicans denounce NYC terror trial for bin Laden son-in-law
Slaiman Abu Ghayth pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring to kill Americans Friday in a brief appearance in New York federal courtroom. The presence of bin Laden’s son-in-law, who serves as a spokesman for al Qaeda, in New York City just blocks from where the World Trade Center towers were demolished — is reigniting a fiery debate over whether terrorists should be tried in civilian court or military commissions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the decision to try Mr. Ghayth in New York demonstrates “a stubborn refusal” to hold additional terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay facility and could impede intelligence collection.
The intelligence team that located Osama bin Laden, Mr. McConnell said, relied on information gathered through the interrogation of detainees. Right now, the nation’s intelligence community is trying to locate al Qaeda’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and do everything they can to disrupt potential terrorist attacks.
“Our intelligence community and military are laboring to understand the structure, threat and communications methods of al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, North Africa and the growing threat of Al Nusra front within Syria,” he said. “They deserve the same access to intelligence and methods of defeating the enemy available to the team that found bin Laden.”
“With all due respect, that’s not the assessment of the intelligence community,” he said, referring more specific questions about the Mr. Ghayth’s interrogations to Justice.
The White House said the intelligence community, as well as the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department all agree that prosecuting Mr. Ghayth in civilian court is the best way to protect the country’s national security interests.
“[Civilian courts] have shown that there are, in many ways, a more efficient way for us to deliver justice to those who seek to harm the United States of America,” Mr. Earnest said. “And that is the consensus view of the president’s national security team and of agencies all across the federal government.”
The decision not to send Ghayth to Guantanamo Bay earned high marks from Mr. Obama’s Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, although members of the New York delegation who strenuously objected to trying previous terrorism suspects in Manhattan in the past, were noticeably silent on the issue.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, applauded the decision, saying federal prosecutors have had “tremendous success” in convicting al Qaeda terrorists.
“In contrast, it is not clear whether a conspiracy case against Abu Ghayth could even be sustained in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay,” he said. “Sending another detainee to Guantanamo would have been a serious mistake, and it is clear to me that President Obama and his national security team made the right choice.”
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, is particularly incensed over the Justice Department’s decision to begin civilian proceedings against the suspected terrorist without notifying Congress.
“Rather than issuing doomsday predictions about sequestration, the president should be notifying Congress that he’s planning a U.S. civilian court trial for a terrorist who took credit for 9/11 and is on video threatening to blow up more U.S. buildings and planes,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- EDITORIAL: Harry Reid's corrupt Senate house of cards
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again