Photo Credit: APRepublicans are denouncing the Obama administration’s decision to bring Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law to New York for a civilian trial, arguing he belongs in military custody in Guantanamo Bay.
Slaiman Abu Ghayth pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring to kill Americans Friday in a brief appearance in New York federal courtroom. The presence of bin Laden’s son-in-law, who serves as a spokesman for al Qaeda, in New York City just blocks from where the World Trade Center towers were demolished — is reigniting a fiery debate over whether terrorists should be tried in civilian court or military commissions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the decision to try Mr. Ghayth in New York demonstrates “a stubborn refusal” to hold additional terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay facility and could impede intelligence collection.
The intelligence team that located Osama bin Laden, Mr. McConnell said, relied on information gathered through the interrogation of detainees. Right now, the nation’s intelligence community is trying to locate al Qaeda’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and do everything they can to disrupt potential terrorist attacks.
Citing public records, Mr. McConnell also said Mr. Ghayth possesses “valuable knowledge of al Qaeda’s activities within Iran.” “Our intelligence community and military are laboring to understand the structure, threat and communications methods of al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, North Africa and the growing threat of Al Nusra front within Syria,” he said. “They deserve the same access to intelligence and methods of defeating the enemy available to the team that found bin Laden.”
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