House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) today issued the following statement in response to reports that the Obama Administration was negotiating and agreeing to potential plea bargains with Umar Farouk Abdul Mattallab, the terrorist who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day:
"Many Americans are incensed to see that the Administration is treating Umar Abdul Mattallab as a common criminal with the rights of a U.S. citizen, including the right to remain silent, a lawyer at taxpayer expense and a civil trial, rather than an enemy combatant who committed an act of war. The Administration's treatment could afford a murderous terrorist the opportunity to negotiate a plea bargain and a lesser punishment -- and that is not acceptable.
"Terrorists who come to our country to kill men, women, and children should not be given options when they fail. These murderers are war-time combatants, and are not equivalent to drug dealers, or thieves whom the government can choose to negotiate with for additional information on other criminals.
"Instead, we should implement a no-nonsense policy that the United States will not presume that foreign nationals caught attempting to execute or carryout terrorist acts on U.S. soil are automatically entitled to a trial in civilian courts. For 10 months, the Administration and many on Capitol Hill have been unwilling to call a terrorist a terrorist. Instead of blame games, we need to strengthen what works in our system, fix what does not, and do what makes sense to ensure that we are always steps ahead of terrorists trying to kill Americans."