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Wednesday
Jul062011

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

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