The man accused of attempting to blow up a jet liner outside of Detroit on Christmas Day was, at some point, informed of his right to hear the charges against him in a trial setting, as required by the Constitution of the United States.
Because of that, a Republican Senator wants U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to resign.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), appearing on Fox News Sunday, slammed the Department of Justice for imprisoning Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, as a criminal.
“He’s doing a better job of interrogating CIA employees than he is of interrogating terrorists, and he’s not making a distinction between enemy combatants and terrorists flying into Detroit trying to blow up planes and American citizens who are committing a crime,” he said, according to The Hill. “He needs to go to Congress and say I made that decision, and here’s why. And based on that perhaps he should step down.”
“Van Hollen also said that FBI agents who interrogated Abdulmutallab for 50 minutes before he was ‘Mirandized’ said they ‘got the information that they needed, and he will certainly be convicted as a result of the court proceedings,'” UPI reported.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), also appearing on Fox News Sunday, took issue with the suggestion, dismissing it as purely political. When the Bush administration dealt with shoe bomber Richard Reid, he too was imprisoned as a criminal and not held as a prisoner of war, Hollen noted.
Richard Reid was convicted in 2003 of eight charges related to his attempted bombing and is currently serving out a life sentence in a Colorado supermax prison. Then a freshman senator, Alexander did not call for the resignation of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose department oversaw Reid’s prosecution. The Bush administration treated the Washington, D.C. sniper similarly.
Alexander, in office since 2003, chairs the Senate Republican Conference, placing him in the party’s number three leadership position. “He is among the least partisan of Senate Republicans, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly, which found the Tennessee Republican was among those GOP senators who voted most often with President Barack Obama,” Main Justice noted.
Alexander is only the latest in a long line of right-wing figures who have attacked the attorney general and the Obama administration for upholding the Constitution, even as it applies to a man who allegedly attempted mass murder. They suggest Abdulmutallab should be held outside the criminal justice system, tried instead by the military in secret proceedings. Alexander said he feels that basic congressional oversight of the secret trials is enough to ensure accountability.
“We have to make a distinction between a kid who breaks into a sandwich shop in Detroit and a Nigerian terrorist who wants to blow up an airplane flying into Detroit,” he said, according to the Canadian Press.
The Bush administration revoked the right of Habeas Corpus, which allows prisoners to challenge the validity of the charges against them. The Supreme Court would later reverse the administration’s move as unconstitutional, granting full Habeas rights to prisoners detained as enemy combatants, but still allowing the military to try some prisoners of war.