The House Republican leadership was out in force yesterday at a press conference announcing the introduction of the Keep Terrorists Out of America Act, legislation aimed at stopping the release by the Obama administration of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay onto U.S. soil.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced on his trip to Germany in late April that the Obama administration had cleared 30 Gitmo terrorists for release. As reported on HUMAN EVENTS, subsequent leaks from the administration of the plan to release Uighur terrorists captured in an al Qaeda training camp into a northern Virginia city caused an uproar across the nation and on Capitol Hill.
Obama administration officials have shared more information with foreign governments on their unsuccessful, worldwide take-a-terrorist begging tours than they have with the American people. Now lawmakers are scrambling to block their proposed release into the United States.
President Obama signed an executive order in January to close the state-of-the-art facility at Gitmo by January 2010 to fulfill a campaign promise to the radical left-wing of his party. Yet his administration still has no plan in place for the disposition of hundreds of the most dangerous terrorists in the world that are housed there.
The simple, five-page bill introduced by Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and literally all of the House Republican leadership yesterday does put a plan in place: one that bars the release of these terrorists into the U.S. The bill would further “require the approval of the relevant State governor and legislature and the President’s notification and certification before the transfer or release of an individual currently detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a location in the United States, and for other purposes.”
“This presents a clear and present danger to American lives,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. “All the administration has to do is reconsider. They don’t have to keep this misguided campaign promise.”
The removal of these terrorists from the isolated island location of the Gitmo facility and their placement into a prison near an American city exposes citizens in the surrounding communities, prison guards, officials and their families to the very real possibility of attacks aimed at breaking the terrorists out of prison or at penalizing the community for the government’s action of imprisoning the jihadist.
In addition, there are profound considerations regarding damage to our domestic legal system by placing these terrorists into that system. Never before in the history of habeas corpus have enemies captured on the battlefield been introduced into our domestic legal system and for good reason: it was never designed to deal with the recondite principles of wartime dispensation of justice. Placing lawyers on the battlefield offers amusing thoughts about their capabilities in that environment. But just as lawyers aren’t soldiers, soldiers aren’t policemen. They don’t gather evidence and read people Miranda rights.
Supreme Court precedents such as U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez indicate that the Congress can grant additional constitutional rights to any person merely by virtue of their being on U.S. soil. Terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the 9/11 mastermind, and Ramzi Binalshibh, the primary communications intermediary between the 9/11 terrorists and al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are being held at Gitmo. Moving them and the hundreds of others just like them at Gitmo onto U.S. soil would allow for any one of the multitude of left-wing judges in the federal courts to apply the Verdugo precedents to these hard-core, battlefield terrorists.
These additional constitutional rights would then allow lawyers for the Gitmo detainees to argue that the searches of their al Qaeda camp hiding places was unlawful under the 4th Amendment and that the evidence gathered as a result is inadmissible in court. They would then be able to argue that they were not advised of their 5th Amendment right to remain silent before they were interrogated. They could claim that their 6th Amendment right to counsel was denied them by soldiers when they weren’t provided a lawyer when captured on the battlefield. I repeat: it only takes one left-wing judge in our federal court system to grant additional rights to these terrorists.
These are just a few of the clear reasons that enemy combatants captured in battlefield situations are not tried in domestic courts. The same rules do not and should not apply. If it is the Obama administration’s purpose to undermine the ability of this nation to protect itself and to cripple our military’s ability to fight and win wars, bringing these terrorists into our legal and prison systems is an excellent first step.