Monday, April 22, 2013

Levin disputes Graham, McCain on ‘enemy combatants’

Levin disputes Graham, McCain on ‘enemy combatants’, A statement released by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C,) calling on Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be held and tried as an enemy combatant was challenged Saturday by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

Graham’s statement, which also included the names of U.S. senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), as well as U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), said that “American citizens who take up arms against our nation or collaborate with our enemies have been held as enemy combatants. This is well-established principle of American jurisprudence and authorized by congressional statute.”

The advantages to declaring Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant, the legislators said, include:

“The questioning of an enemy combatant for national security purposes has no limit on time or scope. In a case like this it could take weeks to prepare the questions that are needed to be asked and months before intelligence gathering is completed.”
“We do not want this suspect to remain silent . . . A decision to not read Miranda rights to the suspect was sound and in our national security interests.”
Levin disputed the argument, stating on his Facebook site that “I am not aware of any legal basis at this point for such a designation in this case. Under the law of war, we have the authority to detain individuals who join a hostile foreign force engaged in attacking the United States. The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force authorizes such detention in the case of an individual who is a part of al Qaeda, the Taliban, or an associated force.

“I am not aware of any evidence so far that the Boston suspect is part of any organized group, let alone al Qaeda, the Taliban, or one of their affiliates — the only organizations whose members are subject to detention under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, as it has been consistently interpreted by all three branches of our government. In the absence of such evidence I know of no legal basis for his detention as an enemy combatant. To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardize our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes.”

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