Top Senate Republicans want to know why two recently extradited Yemeni men were never interrogated by U.S. personnel before they were Mirandized and charged with terrorist acts against the U.S. military.
Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, and eight other Republican members on the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressed for answers in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder as well as Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.
Saddiq Al-Abbadi and Ali Alvi, two accused members of al-Qaida from Yemen, were arrested in Saudi Arabia and extradited to the U.S. to face murder conspiracy charges relating to alleged attacks between 2003 and 2009 on U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. According to reports, the two men were brought into custody of federal law enforcement in Brooklyn and will be prosecuted in an Article III civilian court.
In their letter to Holder and Lynch they write that the U.S. was not allowed to interrogate Al-Abbadi for intelligence information, when he was taken into custody in Pakistan in May 2009 with the assistance of the U.S. government.
“After the federal complaint had been issued, the U.S. government apparently did not seek to take custody, detain him under the law of armed conflict, and permit the U.S. government to interrogate him directly for any and all intelligence information,” the senators wrote. “This had been the practice in the prior Administration and resulted in the detention and interrogation of senior al-Qaeda operatives like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Faraj al-Libi, who are both presently detained at Guantanamo.”
“It appears in this case that the U.S. government relied on foreign governments to detain and interrogate the Yemenis and share that information with the United States,” they continued. “In the case of Al-Abbadi, it took almost five years after his initial capture for this Administration to take him into custody. And when it did, the Administration decided to pursue an Article III prosecution, transfer him to New York, read him his Miranda rights, and give him an attorney. This is no way to fight a war.”
“Under criminal law, you provide somebody a right to counsel and the right to remain silent so they don’t jeopardize their criminal case,” Graham previously said. “The purpose of military law is to win the war. The purpose of criminal law is to prosecute a case. I don’t look as these guys as common criminals. I look at them as warriors—enemy combatants subject to being detained under the law of war,” noting that accused terrorists the U.S. picks are Mirandized while aboard ships coming back to the U.S., or as they are about to touch U.S. soil.
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch defended the government’s actions in a statement.
“There is no escape from the reach of our law for violent terrorists, especially if they target our military,” Lynch said. “Al-Abbadi and Alvi may have operated in the mountains of Afghanistan, but now they face justice in a courtroom in Brooklyn.”
Since the Obama came to Washington, the administration has been releasing captured terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay’s detention facility and shutting down the military tribunals instead of sending them to the prison and conducting interrogations.
While Gitmo detainees have not been transferred to U.S. prisons yet, other detainees captured overseas are brought directly to U.S. federal administrative prisons to be tried in court. Those who are not captured, however, can also be the targets of U.S. drones.
“It’s really unbelievable that these guys say that their position is driven by humanitarian concerns,” former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew McCarthy told The Daily Caller in an earlier report, noting the administration’s policy to either kill terrorists by drones or extradite them to the United States.
“The reason [the administration] drone[s] people, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t drone anybody — rather than capture — is because they’ve so screwed up detention and interrogation. And it’s cleaner for them to kill people — because when you kill them, that’s the end of the story.”