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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KING of New York. I thank my good friend, the chairman, for yielding, and I rise in opposition to the Smith-Gibson amendment.

Let me express my deepest respect for the ranking member, Mr. Smith, and for my colleague from New York, Mr. Gibson, who has served his Nation long and well and who certainly acts with the very best of intentions. I certainly admire his patriotism and dedication.

Having said that, I strongly identify with the remarks of Chairman McCaul and of Congressman Cotton. I think the ultimate fact here is that we would be giving terrorists more rights if they come to the United States than if they'd been captured overseas. To say that everyone captured in the United States is entitled to the full rights of a citizen or of a person lawfully in this country takes away from the fact that if a Nazi soldier had attacked the United States during World War II, would he have been entitled to all the rights of a citizen?

In fact, the Supreme Court ruled on that. We had Nazi saboteurs land in New York during World War II. They were arrested, tried before a military commission, and executed with the approval of the United States Supreme Court.

In the Hamdi decision several years ago, the plurality of the Court said:

There is no bar to this Nation's holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant. A citizen, no less than an alien, can be part of supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners and engage in an armed conflict against the United States.

The fact is we should not be saying there's an incentive for a terrorist to come from Afghanistan and come to the United States to fight because if he's captured here, he gets more rights than if he was captured in Afghanistan. This goes against, to me, common sense, and it in no way is what is happening under the AUMF and in any way a violation of the Constitution.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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