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Public Statements

Treatment of Somali Terrorist

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, yesterday afternoon we learned that over the weekend a Somali terrorist who had been held and interrogated on a U.S. Navy ship for the past 2 1/2 months has been flown to New York to face criminal charges in a civilian court--a Somali terrorist flown to New York to be tried in a civilian court.

I strongly disagree with this decision. Mr. Warsame is a foreign enemy combatant, and he should be treated as one. He should be sitting in a cell in Guantanamo Bay and eventually tried before a military commission.

Warsame is an admitted terrorist. In 2009, Warsame trained and fought with the militant Islamic group al-Shabaab in Somalia. Over the last 2 years, Warsame has provided support and training to al-Qaida in Yemen.

Since the day President Obama signed the Executive order to direct the closure of the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and end the Central Intelligence Agency's enhanced interrogation program, Senate Republicans have been asking the administration what would be done with an unlawful enemy combatant captured overseas in a place other than Iraq or Afghanistan. At one point, CIA Director Leon Panetta speculated that if Osama bin Laden had been captured alive, he would have been sent to Guantanamo. Over time, it became clear that the administration did not have a policy in place that could address this circumstance. So without a straight answer, we were left in the dark on how this administration would handle an enemy combatant captured overseas.

Finally, after waiting 18 months, I think we have our answer. As was disclosed yesterday, Warsame has been in military custody for months, during which time he has been interrogated by various law enforcement agencies. However, now he has been read his Miranda rights. This is a Somalian terrorist captured overseas who has now been read his Miranda rights. Why? Why? Why is a man who is a known terrorist and enemy of the United States being afforded the protections of an American citizen? Now he is in the hands of civilian authorities and will be given all the rights accorded to a U.S. citizen in a civilian court. It is truly astonishing that this administration is determined--determined--to give foreign fighters all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens regardless of where they are captured.

In the case of Alwan and Hammadi, two enemy combatants who fought and killed U.S. soldiers in Iraq, they were captured in Bowling Green, KY, my State, and are now awaiting trial in a Bowling Green courtroom--a decision being summarily condemned by Kentuckians and most of their elected leaders from both parties at the State and Federal levels. And now Warsame, an enemy combatant with ties to al-Qaida who was captured overseas and detained by the military for months, is now inside the United States awaiting trial as a civilian criminal suspect. It is not necessary to bring or continue to harbor these terrorists within the United States. The infrastructure is already in place to handle these dangerous individuals at Guantanamo. However, it has become abundantly clear that the administration has no intention of utilizing Guantanamo unless an enemy combatant is already being held there. Instead, the administration has purposely imported a terrorist into the United States and is providing him all the rights of a U.S. citizen in court. This ideological rigidity being displayed by the administration is harming the national security of the United States of America.

Alwan, Hammadi, Warsame, and all future enemy combatants belong in Guantanamo. They do not deserve the same rights and privileges as American citizens. The administration's actions are inexplicable, create unnecessary risks here at home, and do nothing at all to increase the security of the United States.


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