Yesterday, in a move very pleasing to conservatives, Senate Republicans chose Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be the new Republican ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The leadership seat was vacated by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) when Specter switched to the Democrat Party in an attempt to win re-election next year. Republican voters in Pennsylvania made it quite clear early on that he would be ousted during the primary election. Principle and party have never been important to Specter.
Sessions will now be the point man in Republican examination of President Obama’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter who is retiring next month. That battle may be the most important of Obama’s first term.
Sen. Sessions — a former state attorney general — has a reputation for tough questioning of witnesses. He was one of the leaders in the 2007 fight against the McCain-Bush-Kennedy immigration amnesty bill and earlier this year led conservatives challenging Eric Holder’s nomination for attorney general on the grounds of Holder’s opposition to Second Amendment rights, abortion and a variety of other key issues. (He has a 98% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.)
Back in April, Sessions took the lead on what has quickly become the most urgent assault on public safety we face today from the Obama administration: the decision to release al Qaeda-trained terrorists — captured in an actual al Qaeda training camp — from Gitmo into Northern Virginia as early as this week.
Sessions sent a letter on April 2nd to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers to reports that these terrorists would be released into our cities with a public stipend.
“According to the [news] report, you are considering releasing, among others, the seventeen Uighur detainees who received military training, including firearms training, in terrorist camps in Afghanistan for potential terrorist actions against Chinese interests,” Sessions said in the letter. “Your comments were followed one week later by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair’s announcement that, not only may detainees be released, but the government would need to provide ‘some sort of public assistance for them to start a new life.’”
“I find these reports very troubling in light of recent Pentagon reports that have shown as many as 60 former Guantanamo detainees have resurfaced on foreign battlefields, including in leadership roles,” Sessions continued. “With this history in mind, I would oppose any release of trained militants or terrorists into the United States. Such an action would be contrary to national security interests, as well as federal law.”
Sessions went on to point out that a recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling found that the Obama administration lacks the authority for their proposed action.
Sessions said in the letter, “Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held in Kiyemba v. Obama, 555F.3d 1022 (D.C. Cir. 2009) that federal courts lack the constitutional authority to order the release of the Uighur detainees into the United States. See id. At 1029 (“[N]ever in the history of habeas corpus has any court thought it had the power to order an alien held overseas brought into the sovereign territory of a nation and released into the general population.”). Accordingly, the Obama administration is under no obligation to release the Uighurs or any other Guantanamo detainees into the United States. In fact, the administration is likely legally barred from admitting the Uighurs or other dangerous detainees into the United States.”
As of the deadline for this article, Holder has not responded to these questions from a member of the United States Senate.
Wolf against the Uighur Release
In another strong attempt to protect the people of Virginia from the Obama administration’s plans to release these terrorists into our communities, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) also sent a letter to the Attorney General and spoke of the dangers these terrorists pose on the House floor last Friday and called for a release of all of the classified information this administration possesses on these Uighur terrorists:
“Following the precedent that the administration set in declassifying the Office of Legal Counsel interrogation memos, it has a moral obligation to the American people to declassify all relevant information related to the Uyghur detainees,” Wolf said in his floor speech. “This administration has already shown that it has no qualms about releasing selected classified documents. The White House just can’t pick and choose what classified information it deems worthy of releasing. It can’t have it both ways. It shouldn’t release information that conveniently makes their case without making information with profound national security implications available to the American people.”
Wolf revealed that President Obama is stonewalling all inquiries to any of his executive branch agencies about their plans to release terrorists onto U.S. soil.
“After learning that this decision was imminent, I requested briefings from a number of relevant agencies — but all have told me that the Department of Justice is preventing them from speaking to me directly on this issue,” Wolf said. “Is the Attorney General preventing agencies from answering Members’ questions?”
President Obama is probably the one preventing his agencies from answering any questions regarding these reckless plans that will endanger American lives. Obama is personally accountable for the actions of these terrorists should they be released by his administration onto American soil. The final decision to release these terrorists is his and his alone.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a far better solution from the Senate floor on Monday regarding the release of these terrorists and the arbitrary date this administration has set for the Gitmo closing without any real plans for what to do with the dangerous terrorists held there.
“Clearly, the administration lacks a plan and a safe alternative for closing Guantanamo,” McConnell said. “So let me make a suggestion: it should reconsider its arbitrary deadline on Guantanamo just as it reconsidered its commitment to arbitrary withdrawal deadlines on Iraq. Once the administration has a plan to safely detain, prosecute, or transfer these detainees, the Congress should be consulted and briefed to evaluate this proposal. With no safe alternative, this is the only sensible approach.”
It is unlikely that sanity will prevail.