Bond: Trying Terrorists in Civilian Courts Cripples National Security

Wednesday, 06 Jan 2010 10:47 AM

By Dan Weil

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The Obama administration is making a dangerous mistake by trying the Detroit airline bomber in a civilian court, says Sen. Kit Bond, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Putting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will not only pose a threat to the city in which he’s prosecuted, Bond says, but it also hampers the ability of intelligence professionals to get valuable information.

“We’ve learned the hard way that trying terrorists in a federal court comes at a high price,” said Bond, R-Mo.

Video: See Republican Sen. Kit Bond's assessment of the slip-ups that allowed a terrorist to come close to blowing up plane on Christmas Day. Click here now.

“First, we lose out on potential lifesaving intelligence, which we need right now. It also in the past has compromised our sources and methods.”

The terrorists aren’t American citizens who committed burglary or arson, Bond said. “They are enemy combatants in war.”

Bond also opposes closing the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, as President Obama has pledged to do. “Based on what we now know, Gitmo is the best place to keep these enemy combatants,” Bond said.

“When you release them, and even worse if you bring them to the United States, that is likely to compromise our national security.”

As more attention is focused on the issue, Bond hopes that enough support will grow on both sides of the Senate aisle to prevent the closing of the Guantanamo Bay facility.

As for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s original contention that the system worked during the attempted terrorism episode, Bond said, “She claims she meant the system worked after they captured the terrorist. But I think that’s just a bad case of hoof-in-mouth disease.”

Bond is confident that Republican and Democrats on the intelligence committee will work well together in pinpointing what went wrong with security measures that allowed a terrorist to come close to blowing up a Detroit-bound airplane.

“There were several screw-ups” in letting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab board a plane on Christmas Day, the Missouri senator told Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella.

“We want to find out … what information was available,” Bond said.

“What did we know from the Brits? What did we know from Abdulmutallab’s father? What did we know about what are alleged to have been intercepts? All of these things were bits and pieces that should have been put together.”

The committee will look at how government agencies interacted, Bond said. “Were the results properly communicated to agencies that should have acted? That’s our major concern.”

The process obviously malfunctioned, Bond said. “Is there somebody who is egregiously at fault, or is the system just not adequate to handle all these points?”

Bond said he is confident in the ability of Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to conduct a fair, nonpartisan investigation. “She has worked on a very bipartisan basis with us,” he said. “I’m pleased with how the Intelligence Committee is working.”

Video: See Republican Sen. Kit Bond's assessment of the slip-ups that allowed a terrorist to come close to blowing up plane on Christmas Day. Click here now.

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