GOP: Send terrorist suspect to Gitmo
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's detention of a high-profile terrorist suspect aboard a Navy vessel drew sharp opposition on Tuesday among Republicans in Congress, who said Abu Anas al-Libi should be sent to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay for indefinite interrogation.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Saxby Chambliss said intelligence officials need far more than a couple of months at sea to sufficiently question al-Libi over the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and any other al-Qaida terrorist plots he participated in. They called a potential civilian trial in New York for al-Libi misguided.
“Putting him on a Navy vessel for a matter of days or weeks is not a proper way to gather intelligence in the war on terror,” Graham said at a news conference in the Capitol. “The best tool we have in intelligence gathering is time itself.”
Graham, from South Carolina, cited the years of intelligence work that enabled U.S. special forces to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. “Contrary to popular belief, what led to the bin Laden raid was not information obtained from torture,” Graham said. “It was from good, long, hard intelligence gathering from Gitmo detainees.”
Al-Libi, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, was captured Saturday in Libya.
Questioning him aboard a U.S. warship in international waters is President Obama's answer to Bush administration detention policies he has vowed to end. Obama has sought to close Guantanamo and shift trials to U.S. civilian courts but has run into fierce resistance from Republicans and some Democrats over the last five years.