Testifying before the Senate Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder continued to claim that New York City is still a viable option for the 9/11 terrorist trials, much to the chagrin of South Carolina Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham is continuing his attempt to broker a deal with the White House to help close GITMO. In exchange Graham wants the Obama Administration to find a location to hold military tribunals for the terrorists being held there. Graham appeared on Fox News Thursday.
“My view of Guantanamo bay is that it is a safe and secure jail, it’s well run, but when it comes to image, it is an iconic image according to General Petraeus. It is still being used against us in the War on Terror and our allies don’t like us using that jail. I am willing to find another jail only if you understand that we are at war. I’m not willing to let Khaled Sheikh Mohammed(KSM) be tried in civilian court.”
Graham says it is important to continue to stress that the country is at war and enemy detainees should not have the same rights as civilians. “We need a rule that allows enemy combatants to be held indefinitely without trial, and if a judge orders one of these guys be released, we need a statute that says you can’t come to the United States. So we can close GITMO safely but they (Obama Administration) have no plan. They have no plan for future captures, and with this idea of KSM going into civilian court blew up in their faces, I want to help them but they’ve got to help themselves.
Conservatives continue to criticize Graham for his attempts to work with the President and Congressional Democrats on GITMO and other issues like climate change legislation.
Graham says it is important that the military be given the opportunity to thoroughly interrogate enemy detainees. “They should be held by our military intelligence organizations, questioned about what they know about enemy activity, then you can decide where to prosecute. Under my statute if we caught an enemy combatant alive tomorrow, we would give him over to the military to be interrogated about what he knows about enemy activity then we would decide whether to try him in a military or civilian court, but we would not read him his rights and we would put him in a military prison.”