Rep. Aaron Schock Calls Obama’s Handling of Somali Terrorist “Reckless”
By Ellen Cannon
Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) issued a sharp attack against the Obama Administrations’ handling of the Somali terrorist. Consistent with his previous positions Rep. Schock opposes the bringing of detainees to the U.S. as well as opposes civilian trials for terrorists. Mr. Schock issued the following statement on July 7th: “The news that the Administration will release a Somali terrorist detainee from military custody to law enforcement in New York City is an unacceptable and reckless move. This decision contradicts even the administration’s own recent changes in policy to detain and prosecute terrorists in military commissions and at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba instead of U.S. civilian courts.”(schock.house.gov.News/July 7, 2011)
Schock has been a very tough critic of Obama’s detainee polices, especially the proposal to bring terrorists detainees to Thompson prison in Illinois. Together with Senator Mark Kirk, (R-IL) the two Illinois lawmakers prevented Obama’s effort to transfer detainees from Gitmo, Bagram, Afghanistan, and several other overseas locations from entering the United States and tried in civilian courts. Rep. Schock introduced legislation into the House blocking federal funding to move alleged terrorists from military detention centers to the United States. Senator Mark Kirk introduced the same legislation into the Senate.
In his sharp statement, which was echoed by top Republican congressional leadership, Schock called the actions of the President, “An obsession to secretly circumvent congressional notification when transferring a terrorist onto U.S. soil” as well as a continued effort to “showcase an unwillingness to respect the intent of the Congress to prevent such actions from occurring in the first place.”(schock.house.gov/News/July 7, 2011
Favoring a military tribunal over a civilian trial for terrorist detainees, Schock stated, “Just like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has obviously recognized the vital necessity to be able to interrogate terrorists outside of the U.S. where they are not subjected to the U.S. Constitution.” According to Schock, the President is trying to have it both ways by permitting the questioning a detainee for two months outside the United States but then transferring them to New York City to have a civilian trial.(Michael Muskal L.A. Times, July 7, 2011)
What especially angered Rep. Schock is the administrations’ efforts to ignore if not violate legislation he introduced which specifically blocks federal funding to be used in a manner the President permitted.
Underscoring his personal legislative success in blocking such activity Rep. Schock stated, “The House just passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 which includes language I have offered since January to prevent the Administration from using any federal funding to transfer and house detainees inside the United States.”
Rep. Schock concluded his statement by noting that the decision by the President, “caps off a very unwise policy this President has aggressively pursued since the very first day of his administration.”
Yesterday, Senate Minoirty leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Peter King, (R-NY) chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, issued highly critical statements regarding the President’s handling of terrorist detainees in general and the alleged Somali terrorist in particular. (Ellen Cannon “Senators Durbin and McConnell Loudly Discuss Somali Terror Case, joltleft.com July 6, 2011)
Today, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard P. McKeaon, (R-Calif.) said, the”transfer directly contradicts congressional intent and the will of the American people,” and that it was “unacceptable” that Congress was informed only after the alleged Somali terrorist, Mr. Warsame, had been moved.”(Michael Muskal, L.A. Times, July 7, 2011)
Democrats opposed the Republican perspective arguing that civilian trials have resulted in convictions with stiffer penalties than would have emerged from military tribunal. Unlike Republicans, who argue that constitional protections should not be accorded to detainees who hate America and attempt to directly harm America, Democrats contend that in the war against terrorism, Islamic radicalism, and hateful extremism, the values, protections, and processes of the constitution speak of our underlying principles to the world.