GOP senators: Bad decision not to put Al Libi in Gitmo
October 9th, 2013
10:45 AM ET

GOP senators: Bad decision not to put Al Libi in Gitmo

By Gabe LaMonica

Three Republican senators are accusing the Obama administration of compromising intelligence gathering by holding Abu Anas al Libi on a Navy ship instead of sending him to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay.

During a press conference Tuesday, Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the detainment of al Libi on a Navy vessel in the Mediterranean Sea a "huge mistake."

Graham commended the administration's use of "boots on the ground to capture people" as a "good change in policy," but said there are "fatal flaws" in the U.S. intelligence gathering system.

"It's hard to interrogate a dead man," he said, so it's good that the administration is no longer "killing everybody by drones." But the refusal to send al Libi to Gitmo and to hold him instead at sea is "not a proper way to gather intelligence in the war on terror," Graham added.

"We know that al Libi has had at least two decades of al Qaeda experience at the highest levels," said Ayotte, who called al Libi a "potential intelligence goldmine."

Al Libi is accused of playing a key role in the 1998 twin bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and of working with Osama bin Laden directly beginning in the early 1990s. As an intermediary with Aymin al Zawahiri, he played a "critical role" in establishing al Qaeda in Libya.

Al Libi was indicted in absentia by a federal court in New York's Southern District for his involvement in the Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya bombings.

Chambliss said he recognizes that al Libi has been indicted and said he ultimately "ought to be tried" in a civilian court, but information relative to current al Qaeda and al Qaeda affiliates will be lost without a long-term detention policy.

"Let's make no mistake about it. This is the highest value target we have captured in years," he said.

Under current rules of war, al Libi can only be held in military custody aboard the USS San Antonio for a certain period of time before he is transferred to federal law enforcement officials in the United States. In 2011 the U.S. detained Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame aboard the USS Boxer for two months before he was given a Miranda warning and flown to New York, where he was indicted.

The senators say this framework doesn't give interrogators in the intelligence community enough time to tap into the al Libi "goldmine."

"This system of using Navy vessels, Navy warships, in lieu of Gitmo compromises our ability to gather intelligence," Graham said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Libya
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Lol...

    Aw what's the matter...you afraid he will tell all about WHO was funding their pow-wow's? Better get out now and fast!

    October 17, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
  2. steve

    We've heard this before. If Obama and the justice department put him in Gitmo , then the right wing crowd would say" why dont you try him in civilian court". The truth is there is a much better chance of prosecution in the civilian court. Once they go to Gitmo, they are detained indefinitely without trial.. Its hard to try some one you just finished torturing, that's why there are s many Bush detainees.

    October 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  3. Nathan

    It's Congress that should be put in Gitmo..starting with these 3 idiots!

    October 15, 2013 at 7:36 am | Reply
    • George patton

      You nailed it, Nathan. Thank you.

      October 15, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
  4. Lyndsie Graham

    Gitmo is and has been nothing but a national disgrace from the beginning and now these right-wing nut jobs want to put another man there so that he will have to endure the same tortures that other political prisoners did is truly disgusting! Enough is enough!

    October 13, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply
  5. TOm

    U.S.M.C. 1371

    It amazes me how stupid people really are....Bush is the one that started the phone thing, not obama...Get your crap straight ...it makes you look like an idiot. and a paid writer for the GOP/TEAPARTY.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
  6. StanCalif

    I can understand why Gitmo was not chosen as the destination for this guy. Gitmo was misused and left a very nasty taste. The sooner we can possible close this facility the better.
    However, when a foreign terrorist (who has harmed the US) is captured alive should NOT be afforded all the "rights" in our civilian courts! Read him his Miranda Rights??? What right does he have to this law? He is NOT a citizen!
    Our laws require that defendants in civil courts be afforded legal representation AND that the jury in his trial be a jury of his peers! Does this mean we need to import terrorist lawyers to represent him AND import terrorists to sit on his jury? Just doesn't work under our current system!
    Hopefully, our interrogators will get what information Al Libi may have while at sea. Once he enters our civil justice system (designed for our citizens) and gets lawyered up, nothing more will be obtained. The Navy should then conduct a "man overboard" drill without success! Oops, he fell overboard! The pirates called this "walking the plank"! Any ship at sea (military or civilian) is governed by the ship's captain. The captain is both judge and jury! So be it!

    October 12, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • E

      When you say terrorist do you mean arab? The gov should worry about the economy and not the phoney wars on drugs terror. Every Arab they parade around you think is a terrorist THESE ARE HUMAN BEING let me ask you 2.5 million people were murdered in Iraq & Afghanistan were they all terrorists?

      October 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  7. tcal

    ...back to the article....to besmirch O's drone successes is as anti-american as it gets. they've kept it low profile–
    no "Mission Accomplished" hoo-ha; but the entire team deserves a hand. And if Chambliss knows so much about extractions over drone kills, he should get off the news and get over to the pentagon to enlighten the group. Same
    with the ship; when did HE become an expert on interrogational geography and timing? His little group needs to shut up and let the pros do their job. This Republican pomposity knows no limits.

    October 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  8. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    October 11, 2013 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • jack

      Mr smith copy & paste the same comment on multiple articles is called propaganda & will not make people take you seriously. Boring

      October 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  9. Portland tony

    Opinions like this are reminders of the old Soviett Unions......Send any suspected criminal or political dissident to a Siberian Gulag. The hell with a trial,

    October 10, 2013 at 11:44 am | Reply
  10. ShiverMeTimbers

    This guy looks like a girlie man. We need manly leaders like Messier Putin. :-)

    October 10, 2013 at 4:05 am | Reply
  11. RettasVegas

    GOP has lost the fight & the war, they will lose the House AND the Senate because they closed down the Govt., they let a group of EXTREME, TeaParty people hurt America as they were TRYING once again to hurt ObamaCare (OBAMA)!
    This is the part of the party that does not even beleive in science, and hangs on M. Bauchman's every word!
    It's not your proud parents GOP anymore folks, that's for damn sure, not the party was I born into (3rd generation TX).
    I was a republican for over 34 years, now Independent, I ran from the GOP in 2008 – Too many TeaParty Loony-Tunes!

    October 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • John McKane

      Thank you, RettasVegas. You nailed it! The Tea Partiers really took over that party. Ironically, the GOP was founded by Abe Lincoln and a group of flaming liberals in 1854 who wanted to abolish slavery and Pres. Theodore Roosevelt also belonged to it until he founded the Bull Moose Party in 1912. Now it has become the party of right-wing fanatics who in no way are fit to hold office!

      October 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      If you milk the cow till it dries up what have you gained? Go get your Obama phone, Obama healthcare, Obama welfare, Obama food stamps, and at the end of the day you will have nothing. Eventually stupid people like me that go to work are going to get feed up and cut off the leaches. We all want the same thing a wounderfull country but some of us are smart enough to know it has to be earned not given.

      October 10, 2013 at 4:06 am | Reply
      • TOm

        Get your facts straight.. It sounds like you're a paid writer for the TEAPARTY/GOP. Obama didn't start the phone thing that was your beloved BUSH. CRAZY.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:04 am |
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    October 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  13. George patton

    People like these right-wing Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are the biggest single threat this country faces today! It will be these people who'll eventually bring this country to it's very knees along with the ignoramuses who vote for them! As far as this country is concerned, ignorance is definitely not bliss, but poison!!!

    October 9, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • bob

      Spoken like someone who never served a day,

      October 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • Ralph

        I served 1091 days, and I say the same to you. Post your discharge papers.

        October 14, 2013 at 3:32 am |

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