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"[c]itizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts, are enemy belligerents within the meaning of . . . the law of war."
The exceedingly important question before us is whether the President of the United States possesses the authority to detain militarily a citizen of this country who is closely associated with al Qaeda, an entity with which the United States is at war; who took up arms on behalf of that enemy and against our country in a foreign combat zone of that war; and who thereafter traveled to the United States for the avowed purpose of further prosecuting that war on American soil, against American citizens and targets.
As RT reported on Thursday, members of Anonymous began a campaign this week to expose information on the lawmakers who voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a bill that will allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens, the reinstating of torture methods and the creation of the United States as a battlefield. Despite the implications of the act, the Senate allowed for the bill to leave Capitol Hill on Thursday, leaving only the inking of President Barack Obama’s name as the final step for ratification.
President Obama had earlier insisted on vetoing the bill, but the White House retracted that statement in the days before it cleared Congress. Before the final draft left the Senate yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin asked that a statement from the administration be added to the record in which the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said that the president will not be advised to strike down the bill. On Thursday, Anonymous hacktivists launched a campaign against Senator Robert Portman, a Republican from Ohio. Not only did Portland vote in favor of NDAA FY2012, he received $272,853 from special interest groups that also backed the bill.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the military detention and prosecution of terrorists. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this important matter. I do not believe terrorists should be brought to the United States and be granted the same rights and privileges as American criminal defendants. Terrorists should be kept at Guantanamo Bay and prosecuted through the military commissions established by Congress under terms circumscribed by the United States Supreme Court. Trying to hold civilian trials in the United States for terrorists does nothing more than place Americans at risk, while providing terrorists with a platform from which to spew their hate-filled ideology and recruit like-minded fanatics around the world to join them in jihad. We must not forget that we are a nation at war against ruthless killers who wear no uniforms and use civilians as human shields. Treating these war crimes as ordinary criminal acts and trying these killers in a civilian court under the U.S. Constitution is simply reverting to a dangerous, pre-9/11 mentality. As you may know, Congress passed the Military Commissions Acts of 2006 and 2009, making a powerful statement that U.S. civilian courts are not the appropriate venue to bring terrorists to justice. The military commissions were specifically designed to prevent damaging disclosures and to protect classified information, as well as sensitive sources and methods. We know that these military commissions have a long history in our Republic—dating back from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, to World War II. They are the most appropriate forum for terrorists to be tried for their crimes. Therefore, I supported amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 2012 NDAA; S. 1867) regarding terrorist detention practices. Section 1031 of the FY 2012 NDAA would reaffirm the President’s military detention authority under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (P.L. 107—40). Additionally, Section 1032 would require military custody for a certain subset of unprivileged enemy belligerents, members of al-Qaeda and affiliated entities, pending their disposition under the law of war. By its terms, Section 1032 does not apply to U.S. citizens. These provisions were included in the FY 2012 NDAA that was unanimously reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me. Sincerely, JOHN CORNYN United States Senator