WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the apprehension of Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, the suspect in the Manhattan and New Jersey bombings.
“First, I want to thank the brave men and women in law enforcement who apprehended the suspect. Job well done. I truly appreciate your service.
“Now, I hope the Obama Administration will consider holding Rahami as an enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes. The suspect, based upon his currently reported actions, clearly is a candidate for enemy combatant status.
“Right now, we should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect that can help our nation understand how these attacks were planned and carried out. Holding Rahami as an enemy combatant also allows us to question him about what attacks may follow in the future. That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.
“Holding Rahami as an enemy combatant to determine whether he has ties to terrorist groups, whether he was working for or funded by them, and whether there are co-conspirators, and then trying him in our civilian system for his terrorist acts is the best way to protect our country first, and then achieve justice.
“As an American citizen, Rahami cannot be tried by a military commission. Any future trial at which he would be a defendant would take place in federal district court or state court.
“I have little confidence the Obama Administration will take the course of action I am proposing. Instead, they will read him Miranda Rights as soon as possible and continue to criminalize the war. Their actions will leave our nation less safe in the years to come.”
BACKGROUND ON LAW OF WAR / NATIONAL SECURITY DETAINMENT:
• American citizens who take up arms against our nation or collaborate with our enemies may be held as enemy combatants. (“There is no bar to this Nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant.” -- Supreme Court decision Hamdi v Rumsfeld)
• Criminal domestic law is focused on solving a crime. The Law of War is focused on protecting our national security.
• An enemy combatant held under the Law of War is not entitled to Miranda rights or appointment of counsel.
• The questioning of an enemy combatant for national security purposes has far fewer limitations than questioning under criminal domestic law.
• An enemy combatant is entitled to a timely habeas hearing before a federal judge with appointment of a counsel.
• The focus of the habeas hearing would be whether there is evidence to justify the enemy combatant status determination, which would then allow continued confinement for intelligence gathering.
• As to any future trial, this suspect is an American citizen and he is NOT subject to military commission trial. This exclusion was authored by Senator Graham in the Military Commissions Act.
• Under the Law of War, the suspect must be humanely treated, consistent with the Detainee Treatment Act, other domestic law, and the Geneva Conventions.