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The U.S. Senate recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act that included language to address the handling of terrorists and enemy belligerents detained by the United States. Over recent years, there have been several proposals, including the Terrorist Detainees Procedures Act, which would grant those detained as enemy belligerents for suspected terrorist acts against the United States the rights and privileges of American citizens. I do not believe enemy belligerents have constitutional privileges, including access to federal courts to question our military authority and control.
"I supported the FY12 defense bill because I have great concerns about the possibility of allowing into the United States individuals who were and will likely remain a threat to our homeland security. I believe the safety and security of our country depends upon allowing the military to pursue options to maintain our security, including detaining and interrogating terrorists. "
The Obama Administration has effectively created a false choice for dealing with terrorists captured overseas: either bring them to the United States to be given the full constitutional rights available to U.S. citizens in our civilian court system or release them to return to the fight against the United States. The detainee provisions of the FY12 defense bill (S. 1867), which were unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, would address this issue. Critics have launched several misleading arguments against these provisions.
However, the practice of holding captured terrorists in military detention is based in long historical practice, even back to George Washington, and the provisions in the 2012 defense bill are supported by Supreme Court precedent, past practice, and common sense. Rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind as the U.S. Senate considers legislation affecting the Guantanamo detainees.