[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
64°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Commentary by Sen. Dianne Feinstein
| Monday, Mar 25, 2013
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The recent arraignment of Sulaiman abu Ghaith in a New York courtroom was an important moment in the ongoing effort to bring senior Al Qaeda figures to justice. But that’s not how everyone saw it.

Critics complain that he should have been taken to Guantanamo to be detained and interrogated there as an enemy combatant. They object to his being tried in the United States as a “common criminal.”

I disagree; the record of our federal criminal courts is unmatched. The Abu Ghaith case is an excellent opportunity to model for the world what American justice looks like, and I have every confidence that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are well-qualified to achieve a conviction, which would likely carry a life sentence.

It’s not as if we lack experience criminally prosecuting terrorists in civilian courts. In fact, our criminal justice system has achieved 438 terrorism-related convictions since 9/11, according to the Department of Justice. Many of them have been in the very Manhattan courthouse where Abu Ghaith will be prosecuted. Among the international terrorists brought to justice in U.S. courtrooms are “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, the “20th Hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui and “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid, and they are serving long sentences in maximum security federal prisons.

One compelling reason to try Abu Ghaith in a civilian courtroom is that it could be extremely difficult to prosecute him for conspiracy in the military commission system at Guantanamo. In January, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor for the military commissions, said he would not bring conspiracy charges as a stand-alone offense against detainees, because of an October 2012 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the case of Salim Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden. The ruling, Martins said, created legal uncertainty about whether conspiracy can be charged as a stand-alone offense for conduct that predates 2006. By comparison, conspiracy charges are common in federal criminal courts.

Critics have also suggested that interrogators at Guantanamo might get more useful intelligence from Abu Ghaith than will come out through the criminal trial process. But in fact, the criminal justice system has been a useful intelligence collection tool. Terrorism defendants in federal court have provided extremely valuable intelligence — including telephone numbers and email addresses used by Al Qaeda; information on terrorism recruiting techniques and finances; locations of training camps, safe houses and terrorists; names of operatives involved in past and planned attacks; and details of active plots. Those sent to Guantanamo have far less incentive to talk.

In recent years, the FBI has updated its policies to allow the initial interrogations of terrorists to be conducted without Miranda warnings, under a public safety exception recognized by the courts. But even when Miranda warnings have been provided, skilled interrogators have been able to conduct interviews in ways that provide valuable intelligence. FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that reading an alleged terrorist his Miranda rights does not impede the ability of agents to collect intelligence. In fact, Mueller said, “The ability of the criminal justice system to produce intelligence is often overlooked.” He pointed to three specific terrorism cases prosecuted in federal criminal court that “were prominent in terms of providing intelligence.”

Criminal prosecutions also have been shown to be a more efficient way to bring terrorists to justice. Compare that with the military commission system, which has yet to deliver closure to families of 9/11 victims. The five 9/11 co-conspirators at Guantanamo have been arraigned, but their prosecutions have been on hold for years as motions are filed, procedures written and rewritten, and appeals made on a variety of issues.

Even when successful, military commissions have often not resulted in long sentences. Three of the seven terrorists convicted in military commissions since 9/11 have been released from Guantanamo and are free in their home countries of Yemen, Australia and Sudan. A fourth could be released from Guantanamo this year, a fifth is serving the rest of his sentence in Canada, and a sixth case is on appeal. Military commissions certainly have a role in the counter-terrorism legal system, but their use should be limited, not the default option.

Our partners and allies around the world have recognized the strength and legitimacy of the civilian criminal justice system and have cooperated with efforts to bring terrorists to justice in American courts. The same cannot be said of secret detentions or Guantanamo, both of which have sapped the international support the United States needs to continue global counter-terrorism operations.

The George W. Bush administration used federal courts extensively to prosecute terrorists, and so should the Obama administration. For Al Qaeda terrorists like Abu Ghaith, the record is clear: Our best chance at bringing this senior Al Qaeda figure to justice is the federal court system.

 

Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Her commentary originally appeared in The Los Angeles Times.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Jody says:

    Once again, our ultra-Liberal senator is WILDLY out of touch with reality. Let’s treat a foreign terrorist hell-bent on murdering as many Americans as possible a civil trial and all that the American justice system can offer him or her– maybe even an acquittal! But mostly a political platform for expressing their hatred, and additional burden on our cash-strapped courts (not to mention all the increased security measures required.) Makes sense to me!

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
The Trump budget proposes decreasing funding to the Department of the Interior by $1.5 billion. Trump is calling for more drilling in national parks and monuments. He plans to open BLM land to drilling and fracking.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
We are quickly approaching the culmination of the year-long celebration of our city’s 30th anniversary. It is truly a time to celebrate all the hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion that took our City from being a tiny portion of Los Angeles County to the thriving third largest city in the county.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This month marks an exciting milestone for the premier arts and entertainment district in Santa Clarita.
Friday, Sep 29, 2017
Kaepernick has never spoken of personally experiencing any negative interactions with the police. Appearances are he had a pretty nice life provided by people with white skin while living in a country that presented him with obvious, mind-boggling opportunities.
Thursday, Sep 28, 2017
Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, Rainbow Basin remains virtually undiscovered. It is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
CHESTERFIELD, MO — NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential design-build firm, recently teamed up with Logix Federal Credit Union to work on a large scale facility project, a new corporate headquarters building for the full-service credit union in the Burbank, California area.
Valencia Will Soon be Home to Logix Federal Credit Union Headquarters
The CSUN women's volleyball team (10-9, 4-3 Big West) opens the second half of the Big West season this week as the Matadors head up the coast this week for road tests at No. 23 Cal Poly (17-2, 7-0 Big West) and UC Santa Barbara (4-15, 3-4 Big West). CSUN, coming off a tough five-set loss to Hawai'i at home, is 3-4 in seven road matches this season but has won two of three Big West road contests.
Matadors Volleyball Testing Their Skills on the Road
No. 5 College of the Canyons defeated L.A. Mission College 3-0 on Wednesday to earn its eighth consecutive match and fifth straight sweep. Set scores were 25-15, 25-11, and 25-20.
Cougars Volleyball Earns Fifth Straight Sweep
CSUN Women's Soccer (7-4-5, 3-1-1 BWC) looks to move up in the Big West standings this week as it hosts UC Irvine on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
Matadors Get Ready for Big West Matchups
Behind Julio Rubio's goal in the 11th minute CSUN defeated UC Riverside 1-0 in Big West Conference men's soccer action Wednesday night.
Matadors Lone Goal Enough to Hold Off UC Riverside
Northridge, CA – CSUN Athletics officially opened its new satellite athletic training facility on Thursday at an event featuring Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Steven Grech, student-athletes, coaches, staff and campus partners.
Matadors Student-Athletes Welcome New Training Facility
Want unique gifts and a shopping experience unlike any other?
Nov. 18-19: City’s Annual Two-Day Fine Craft Show
City officials gathered Wednesday for the Grand Opening of "Three Oaks," the first 100 percent affordable family development in Santa Clarita.
Affordable Housing Comes to Santa Clarita
The Gibbon Conservation Center will celebrate Halloween for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 28: Gibbon Conservation Center Celebrates First Halloween
California State University, Northridge is partnering with the California State University Entertainment Alliance to host a morning of workshops designed to offer students and members of the public advice on building successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Oct. 23: CSUN Workshop; Succeeding in Entertainment Industry
Spotlight Arts Center, a local non-profit that provides free performing and visual arts classes to children in the Santa Clarita Valley, will hold its Fall Festival, Sunday, Oct. 22 from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Oct. 22: Fall Festival Spotlight Arts Center
The College of the Canyons Athletics department is inviting all players, coaches and cheerleaders associated with a Santa Clarita Valley youth sports league or cheer organization to attend Saturday's Cougar football game free of charge.
Oct. 21: SCV Youth Teams Invited to Free COC Football Game
College of the Canyons freshmen Joanna Roecker and Cassandra Lee both turned in scores of 79 to lead the Cougars to a second place team finish at the Western State Conference (WSC) event hosted by Glendale College at Brookside Golf Course on Monday.
COC Falls Short at WSC Glendale
Beginning Monday, October 23, 2017, the city of Santa Clarita will increase the frequency of street sweeping throughout all areas of the City.
Oct. 23: City Begins Increased Street Sweeping Frequency
In a battle for Western State Conference, East Division supremacy, it was College of the Canyons that came out on top Tuesday night, as the Cougars scored two second half goals to secure a 2-0 win against visiting Antelope Valley College. Justine Hoeft and Jennifer Roney collected goals for the Cougars (11-2, 2-0).
COC Secures Win Against AVC With Two Second-Half Goals
The upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Buckweed Fires offers Santa Clarita residents a reminder of the ever-present fire danger in Los Angeles County, as blazes ravage the northern half of the state, as well.
County, City Officials Reflect on 10-Year Anniversary of Buckweed Fires
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, with help from a Smartphone GPS system, were able to locate a lost hiker Wednesday night at Towsley Canyon.
Smartphone GPS Locates Lost Towsley Canyon Hiker
Dreamation Craft Guild will be hosting a boutique at Canyon High School, Nov. 18, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to benefit the family of John Phippen, the Santa Clarita resident who was killed in the Las Vegas shooting.
Nov. 18: Holiday Marketplace Benefiting John Phippen Family
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – To ensure drivers, passengers, and children are properly restrained while traveling California’s roadways, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has partnered with the California Office of Traffic Safety on a new traffic safety campaign entitled, “California Restraint Safety Education And Training” (CARSEAT).
CHP’s New Traffic Safety Campaign Focuses on Saving Lives, Reducing Injuries
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Speed and aggressive driving, the main causes of traffic collisions in California, will be the focus of a year-long education and enforcement campaign by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) that started Oct. 1, 2017.
CHP Grant Aims to Reduce Fatalities, Traffic Injuries; Addresses Street Racing
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Oct. 27: Star Party at COC Canyon Country Campus
Determined to transform the deeply troubled Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to consider an independent entity that would provide guidance, oversight and accountability.
Supes Consider Entity for Probation Reform Guidance, Oversight, Accountability
Alexia Cina of Canyon Country was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of a mother of six children in a head-on crash on Golden Valley Road on October 6.
Woman Charged with Manslaughter, DUI in Death of Mother of 6
The 22nd annual Santa Clarita Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 5, 2017, following the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday.
Nov. 4-5: 22nd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon Events
The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series following Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.
Dodgers Out to Sweep Cubs in NLCS Game 4
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's 2017 Medal of Valor Awards were held Tuesday in Los Angeles, and SCV Sheriff's Station Deputy Dmitry Barkon was recognized for his bravery and heroic actions.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputy Dmitry Barkon Earns Medal of Valor
Now is the time for all good college-bound high school seniors to join the 'Race to Submit' applications for FAFSA and CADAA grants to help cover college expenses.
High School Seniors: ‘Race to Submit’ is on for 2018 College Financial Aid
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies interrupted a smash-and-grab burglary on The Old Road early Friday morning, arresting one suspect and seeking two alleged accomplices still at large.
SCV Deputies Catch Window-Smash Burglars in the Act
Pukúu Cultural Community Services, founded in 1971 by members of the local Fernandeno-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, will host its 13th Annual scholarship gala fundraiser, "Night with the Stars," in Sunland on Saturday, November 4 starting at 6 p.m.
Nov. 4: Local Tribe Honors 3, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
California's Attorney General today filed a motion to compel the federal government to follow the law and pay the subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to lower the out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans.
California AG Fights to Keep ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidies
Santa Clarita business owners are encouraged to take the city's broadband feasibility study online survey and participate in the next phase of the study -- in-person focus groups scheduled for October 30.
Oct. 30: Focus Groups in Next Phase of City Broadband Study
The $17 billion "California WaterFix" project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach in favor of a less expensive, scaled-back version.
Silicon Valley Water Board Wants Delta Tunnels Downsized
Maryama, a band led by CalArts alumna Maryama Mirbagheri (Music MFA 17), was recently nominated for a 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the World Music category.
Maryama Nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Award