GOP Senators Lambaste Obama Over Terrorist Trials

By MichaelJames

Jan 9, 2010 12:45pm

ABC News' Rachel Martin reports:

Twenty-two U.S. senators have signed a letter to President Obama denouncing his administration’s decision to try the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, in civilian courts rather than through a military tribunal as a designated “enemy combatant.”

The letter was spearheaded by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and supported by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We fear this decision has resulted in a missed opportunity to collect timely intelligence,” the letter said, “and is indicative of a troubling pre-9/11 mentality that treats terrorism as a law enforcement rather than intelligence matter.”

The senators said assigning Abdulmutallab an attorney after only 30 hours of questioning by the FBI amounted to a missed opportunity with potentially grave repercussions.

“Put simply," the letter said, "deciding to prosecute Abdulmutallab in a criminal court has limited our tools 'on the table' to offering a terrorist who tried to murder almost 300 passengers on a plane less time behind bars.”

Among the signatories: Republican Sens. Kit Bond of Missouri, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Since 9/11, hundreds of terrorists have been convicted in civilian courts, including the so-called “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, who is now serving a life sentence in a maximum security detention facility.

You can read the letter HERE.

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