Miller introduces legislation to treat accused terrorists as enemy combatants
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