Republicans opposing federal trial for 9/11 suspects

Republicans opposing federal trial for 9/11 suspects

[JURIST] Republican leaders on Sunday expressed strong opposition to the Obama administration's plan to pursue federal charges [JURIST report] against five men accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 terrorist attacks [JURIST news archive]. Ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee [official website] Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) [official website] told [transcript, PDF] CBS's Face the Nation [media website] that he would:

do exactly what the President is doing with some of other people that they have down in Guantanamo. The President has said for some of these other – other individuals we will use military tribunals. And he hasn't really, you know, demonstrated to us as to why some are going to go into New York and be tried there and why others are going to go through military tribunals.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani [official profile] also told [transcript] Fox News Sunday [media website] that he believes the suspects should be tried in military tribunals. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders spoke out in support of the plan. Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] told Face the Nation that

What we're saying to the world is the United States acts out of strength not out of fear. … We're the most powerful nation on Earth. We have a judicial system that's the envy of the world. Let's show the world that we can use our power, we can use our judicial system, just as we did with Timothy McVeigh and send the people and convict the people.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official profile], speaking on NBC's Meet the Press [media website] agreed [transcript].

Sunday's statements are the latest in a series of partisan disagreements over how to handle the closure of the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Also this weekend, Democrats spoke out in favor of a proposal to house detainees in an Illinois prison [JURIST reports], while Republicans opposed the plan. Last week the Center for American Progress (CAP) [advocacy website] issued a report [JURIST report] that said the failure to meet the self-imposed deadline for closure of Guantanamo was result of several missteps by the Obama administration. Earlier this month, the US Senate [official website] voted 54-45 [JURIST report] to defeat an amendment [S AMDT 2669 materials] to an appropriations bill [HR 2847 materials] that would have prevented Guantanamo detainees accused of involvement in 9/11 from being tried in federal courts. In October, US President Barack Obama signed [JURIST report] into law the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 [HR 2892 materials], which allows for Guantanamo Bay detainees to be transferred to the US only for prosecution.