Entries in Terrorists (6)


WH to Give Itself Maximum Flexibility on Terrorist Custody Law

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House announced Tuesday night that the Obama administration intends to interpret with rather wide latitude a controversial section of the National Defense Authorization Act that requires law enforcement to place into military custody any foreign al Qaeda suspects caught on U.S. soil.

Based on the list of reasons for which the administration can grant itself waivers, thus keeping the alleged terrorist in law enforcement -- and not Pentagon -- hands, the White House is choosing to give itself maximum flexibility in dealing with any future Christmas Day bombers.

The interpretation states that “until an individual is formally designated a covered person, federal law enforcement agencies should follow their standard practices. The procedures also make clear that, even after an individual is determined to be a covered person, a transfer to military custody may only occur once it is clear that it will not disrupt ongoing law enforcement and intelligence operations.”

The waivers can be granted for a broad array of reasons, including if placing the suspect in military custody will impede counterterrorism cooperation or could interfere with efforts to secure an individual’s cooperation or confession. A waiver can also be granted if putting the suspect in military custody could impact a foreign government being willing to extradite or transfer suspects to the U.S.; if the suspect is a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. arrested for conduct taking place in this country; or if the transfer to military custody would interfere with efforts to conduct joint trials with co-defendants about whom the decision has already been made to keep them in law enforcement custody or who are ineligible for military custody.

Moreover, a lot of people will have to sign off on putting a suspect in military custody -- the attorney general makes the final determination but the secretary of state, secretary of defense, secretary of Homeland Security, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and director of National Intelligence all have to sign off as well.  This action has no bearing on the controversial part of the NDAA that reaffirms the government’s ability to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens suspected of being involved in a terrorist plot, a power courts have ruled was given to the federal government under the Authorization for Use of Military Force against al Qaeda in 2001.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tea Partyer Confronts Obama over Biden's 'Terrorists' Remark

The White House/Pete Souza(DECORAH, Iowa) -- President Obama got into a testy exchange with Tea Party member Ryan Rhodes in Decorah, Iowa, Monday over comments allegedly made by Vice President Joe Biden during the height of the debate over raising the debt ceiling.

At the time, Biden supposedly agreed with a Democrat House member's assessment that Tea Party activists were acting like "terrorists" by forcing Republican lawmakers to take a hard line over compromise with Democrats.

During Obama's appearance in Iowa, Rhodes questioned how the president could call for civility when he didn't chastise the vice president for the "terrorists" remark.

The president again insisted that Biden did not refer to Tea Party activists in such a manner but did call them irresponsible for holding the economy hostage for the sake of political expediency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Calls Use of the Word 'Terrorists' to Describe Tea Partyers 'the Product of An Emotional Discussion'

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Given the presence of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., at Congress Monday Night -- and President Obama’s January 12 speech to the nation about the need for “more civility in our public discourse” -- the White House has faced questions about Vice President Biden’s possible behind-closed-doors use of the word “terrorists” to describe Tea Partyers.

It was reported Tuesday that at a meeting with anxious House Democrats Monday, the Vice President heard from Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., who said “the Tea Party acted like terrorists in threatening to blow up the economy.”

Doyle used the term several times. Several sources told Politico that the Vice President responded by saying, “they have acted like terrorists.”

Other sources told ABC News that the vice president said something along the lines of “if they have acted like terrorists, we’re taking the nuclear weapon away from them.”

The verbal gaffe-prone Vice President told CBS News’ Scott Pelley, "I did not use the terrorism word...What happened was there were some people who said they felt like they were being held hostage by terrorists. I never said that they were terrorists or weren't terrorists, I just let them vent. I said, ‘Even if that were the case, what's been happening when you now have taken and paid the debt and move that down so we can now discuss, the nuclear weapon's been taken out of anyone's hands.’"

One reporter Tuesday asked White House press secretary Jay Carney about reports that the Vice President had used the term, wondering if “the president thinks that's appropriate discourse?”

“No, he doesn't, and neither does the vice president,” Carney said. “And I think the vice president spoke to this and made clear that he didn't say those words, and I think the congressman in question has said that he regrets using them.”

Carney said the use of the word “was a product of an emotional discussion, very passionately held positions in this debate, but that does not mean that it's appropriate.  And it's not.  The vice president doesn't think so; the president doesn't think so.  Any kind of comments like that are simply not conducive to the kind of political discourse that we hope to have.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Terrorist Suspect Held at Sea Causes Political Argument

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted the Obama administration Wednesday morning for the decision to bring Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, the Somali man facing terrorism charges to New York for trial, saying the administration’s “ideological rigidity” is “harming the national security” of the country.

“Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame is a foreign enemy combatant,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, “He should be treated as one; he should be sitting in a cell Guantanamo Bay, and eventually be tried before a military commission. Warsame is an admitted terrorist.”

Over the weekend, Warsame, who had been held and interrogated on a U.S. Navy ship for the past two and half months, was flown to New York to face criminal charges in a civilian court. Republicans have argued that foreign terrorism suspects should be tried in military commissions rather than civilian courts.

“It’s astonishing that this administration is determined to give foreign fighters all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens regardless of where they are captured,” McConnell continued, “And now Warsame, an enemy combatant with ties to al Qaeda who was captured overseas and detained by the military for months, is now in 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.”

The Obama administration has fallen short of President Obama’s goal to close Guantanamo within the first year of his administration.   McConnell says that with that move it is “abundantly clear” that the administration has “no intention of utilizing Guantanamo unless an enemy combatant is already being held there,” with or without the detainee camp being closed or not.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., responded that it was “unfair” to second-guess the president as he said Senator McConnell has, because “the same standard was not applied to the Republican president who tried hundreds of would-be terrorists, accused terrorists in our criminal courts successfully.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Guantanamo: The Next Democratic Rebellion Against Obama?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As extension of tax cuts pits Democrats against the White House, President Obama is facing another rebellion from House Democrats, who slipped a provision into the federal funding bill this week barring alleged terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay from being moved to U.S. prisons.

Guantanamo has been a sore point for Democrats and Republicans; Obama signed an executive order 21 months ago -- one of his first as commander-in-chief -- to shut it down.  His plan to have detainees move to federal prisons has taken much heat from both sides of the political aisle.

The president's plan this week also received another blow in the form of a report by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, which said "the number of former detainees identified as reengaged in terrorist or insurgent activity will increase."

Of the 598 detainees who have been released, the DNI report found that 81 of them, or 13.5 percent, are confirmed and 69, or 11.5 percent, are suspected of re-engaging in terrorist or insurgent activities.  Of the 66 former Guantanamo detainees transferred since Obama took office, "two are confirmed and three are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities."

The White House insists that closing the Guantanamo Bay detainee center is a "national security imperative," but the latest move by the House, amid the background of Clapper's report, does not bode well for the president's agenda.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Dem Senator: Negotiating with GOP like Negotiating with ... Terrorists?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Did Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., just compare Republicans to terrorists? Well, not really.  But he did compare negotiating with Republicans to negotiating with terrorists.

At a press conference with fellow Democrats, Menendez lashed out at Republicans for opposing Democratic efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class while allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. He accused the Republicans of holding middle class tax cuts "hostage" to tax cuts for the wealthy. That's a common Democratic line, but Menendez took the analogy a step further.

Asked if Democrats have a responsibility to move forward with a bill that can become law -- in other words, a bill Republicans will support and not block, "Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done, when in fact it might be perverse in its ultimate results? It's almost like the question of do you negotiate with terrorists."

Republicans are crying foul.

"It's astounding that Senators from New York and New Jersey would compare people who want to prevent a tax increase to terrorists." said Brad Dayspring, spokesperson for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "In the 10 seconds it took to utter the phrase, they effectively revealed why people don't trust Democrats on issues of fiscal or national security. They just don’t get it."

A Menendez spokesman says Republicans are taking the senator out of context.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio