Home > Afghanistan, Iraq, Netherlands, United States of America, Yemen > Miller introduces legislation to treat accused terrorists as enemy combatants

Miller introduces legislation to treat accused terrorists as enemy combatants

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (Republican-Michigan), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, on Tuesday introduced the Terrorist Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 which will clarify federal law giving the President the clear authority to treat all foreign terrorists as enemy combatants regardless of where they are captured.

This legislation will give the United States an essential tool it needs to detain terrorists who commit acts within our borders, to interrogate them for information that will protect American citizens and then try them before military commissions.

“On Christmas Day, the War on Terror came to the skies of Southeast Michigan,” Miller stated. “As Northwest flight 253 was on final approach from Amsterdam to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate high explosives that were brought on board the aircraft in his underwear, which if successful would have killed all 290 people on board and countless more on the ground. This was another act of war perpetrated by an agent of our terrorist enemies.

“After he was captured, this terrorist was taken to the University of Michigan hospital where he received first class treatment at one of the finest burn centers in the world and then turned over to the Justice Department where he was given Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent, has been arraigned on criminal charges and bound over for trial in civilian court with full Constitutional Rights. This is simply the wrong way to fight our terrorist enemies.

“Today, I am offering legislation to give the President the clear authority to prosecute terrorists as enemy combatants, regardless of where they are captured. Terrorists are not common criminals; they are enemies of our nation engaged in an illegal war that targets innocent civilians for murder,” Miller continued.

“Al Qaeda’s threat is truly global – and our method for securing justice should not be limited to the geographic boundaries of their capture. If this man had been caught on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq he would not be sitting in a civilian federal prison today conferring with his lawyer; he would be in military custody being interrogated by intelligence professionals. But because the battlefield was in seat 19-A of Northwest 253 over the skies of Detroit, he has been given great medical care, the right to remain silent and a taxpayer funded attorney even though he may still have information that could protect more Americans from future attacks. My legislation will prevent future situations where valuable time and information will be lost due to treating terrorists as common criminals.”

Rep. Miller’s Terrorist Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 would give the President the clear authority under U.S. law to detain foreign terrorists caught within U.S. borders as enemy combatants and try them before military commissions. Currently, the President is given the authority to detain enemy combatants on the battlefield under the Authorization of Military Force Congress passed after 9/11. However, there is question as to whether he has the authority to detain such terrorists as enemy combatants if the terrorist is caught within our borders.

“Last week, President Obama reiterated the fact that we are at war with terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, and that Abdulmutallab was an agent of al Qaeda trained in Yemen. When the forces of our enemies attack civilians in our nation they should not be eligible to receive all of the protections of our Constitution, particularly the right to remain silent, when they likely have information that will help protect innocent American lives. It is my belief that Congress should act quickly on this legislation to give President Obama the clear authority he needs to take the battle to our enemies and better protect our nation,” Miller concluded.

Preceding provided by Congresswoman Miller

  1. carol ann goldstein
    January 14, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    We must be very careful with this legislation because we want Americans arrested or detained and accused by foreign governments because of an alleged act to be granted the protections of the laws of that government and not as enemy combatants of that government. Let us not forget the recent detention by North Korea of a few female American journalists who wandered across the South Korean border into North Korea, and the recent detention of some American male hikers who wandered across the Iraqi northern border into Iran; the journalists have been freed, the hikers may still be detained.

    It was President Bush and his cabinet who decided to reduce the effort in Afghanistan and start a war in Iraq. One must examine US foreign policy since WWII in the Middle East, and European colonialism in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as the roots of the current terrorism around the world.

    We must not forget that September 11, 2001 happenend on President Bush’s watch. We must not forget that President Bush and VP Cheney refused to testify under oath and publicly before the commission that investigated the 9/11/2001 attacks; Bush and Cheney testified secretly and not under oath as they demanded. We must not forget that there was no investigation of who was responsible for the 9/11/2001 attacks; everyone on the planes was killed and it was assumed that the 19 Middle Eastern Muslim men on the passenger manifests were guilty of the attacks – it was not that long ago that the appearance of Jewish names on a passenger manifest would have been deemed them guilty of whatever crime happened.

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