Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell lambasted the Obama administration's decision to bring a Somali man facing terrorism charges to New York for trial, saying the man has no right to the rights of U.S. citizens.
The administration's handling Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, who was indicted Tuesday, undermines U.S. national security and makes no sense when the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is available, the Kentucky senator said.
Warsame “is a foreign enemy combatant and he should be treated as one,” McConnell said today on the Senate floor, according to his website. “He should be sitting in a cell in Guantanamo Bay and eventually be tried before a military commission.”
The Somali citizen, who was captured in April and interrogated aboard a U.S. warship for two months, is accused of providing material support to terrorist groups.
He allegedly conspired from 2007 until his arrest to provide money, training, communications equipment and personnel to al-Qaida and al Shabaab, both of which the United States designates as foreign terrorist organizations.
Warsame, whom prosecutors identified as an al Shabaab leader, allegedly worked to broker a weapons deal with al-Qaida and taught how to make explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction starting in 2009.
As a result of the interrogations of Warsame, the United States “has been able to obtain very valuable intelligence,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said today at a briefing.
Warsame was “detained lawfully,” Carney said, adding that the Red Cross was informed and had the opportunity to interview him.
Warsame arrived in New York Tuesday morning, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan. He entered a not guilty plea yesterday before U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in a proceeding closed to the public because the indictment was under seal at the time, said Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for Bharara.
“Ahmed Warsame was a conduit between al Shabaab and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — two deadly terrorist organizations — providing material support and resources to them both,” Bharara said.
Priya Chaudhry, a lawyer who represented Warsame at his arraignment, didn’t reply to a voice-mail message.
The defendant faces a mandatory term of life in prison if convicted of conspiring to provide material support to a terror group.
Warsame was questioned for intelligence purposes for more than two months after his capture and later spoke to federal law enforcement officials “for several days” after he was informed of his legal rights, according to the statement.
While Warsame was in Yemen in 2010 through this year he received training in military weapons including explosives, according to Bharara’s statement. The U.S. said he possessed and used grenades and an AK-47 assault weapon while in Yemen to commit crimes of violence.
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