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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I assume we universally share the view that we want those who have committed acts of terrorism against innocent people be brought to justice. And we have entrusted that responsibility to prosecutors in the military, the Justice Department, and to our intelligence community. This amendment lets those prosecutors do their job unimpeded by judgments that we are making without all the facts.

If this amendment doesn't pass, the underlying bill says to those prosecutors, even if you think, as has been the case with over 400 other suspects convicted in Article 3 courts, that an Article 3 trial is the right thing to do, you may not do it. It says to those prosecutors, even if you think live testimony from a Guantanamo detainee in a criminal court in this country in someone else's trial will help you win a conviction, you may not do it. Even if you think that we could gain standing with allies by having such a person tried in another jurisdiction, it would achieve a better result for our country and for an alliance against terrorism, you may not make that choice.

Congress should set broad policy for our country. We should not Monday morning quarterback or backseat drive. By limiting the options of our prosecutors, I believe that's what we're doing, and we are risking the undesired and ironic result that will make it more difficult for those with whom we've entrusted this task to achieve the goal of bringing these people to justice.

Mr. Smith's amendment is well considered. It broadens the options of those prosecutors and, I think, hastens the day when those who deserve to be brought to justice will, in fact, be brought to justice.


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