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Smith: Administration Finally Sees the Light on Military Commisions


Location: Washington, DC

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the following statement in response to the Administration's announcement that it will resume military commissions for Guantanamo Bay terrorists.

Chairman Smith: "Though it took more than two years, I am pleased that the Obama administration has finally seen the light on military commission trials. As Republicans have been saying all along, terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants, not common criminals. Trying foreign terrorists in civilian court makes it harder for prosecutors to obtain convictions and gives terrorists a public forum to spew their radical hate for America.

"The Administration's own test trial of Gitmo detainee Ahmed Ghailani proved this point. Despite admitting to participating in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa, Ghailani was acquitted of all but one of the 285 counts against him. Though the Administration tried to spin the case as a success, it was a near disaster. If Ghailani had been acquitted of just one more count, he would have been considered innocent of these heinous crimes.

"The Administration should fully abandon the failed policy of trying terrorists in civilian courts. And it should resume the military commission trial of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Justice for the families of the 9-11 victims has been delayed long enough.

"If the Obama administration is looking to adopt effective policies in the War on Terror, the re-instatement of military commissions is a good first step. The next step is to abandon the ill-advised campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay."

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