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White House defends secret detention of Somali terror suspect

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WASHINGTON — The White House Wednesday defended the treatment of an alleged leader of Somalia’s Shebab Islamist insurgency who was interrogated for two months on a US warship, saying his detention was lawful.

In the first known case of the secret detention of a terror suspect by the administration of President Barack Obama, Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was captured in the Gulf on April 19 and kept aboard a US Navy ship at sea.

The Somali national was indicted on Tuesday in a New York court on charges of providing material support to both the Shebab and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based branch of the Islamist terror group.

Warsame, 25, “was detained lawfully, under the law of war, aboard a US Navy ship until he was transferred in the US for prosecution,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

“The International Committee of the Red Cross was told of Warsame’s detention on the ship, visited the site of detention and had the opportunity to interview the detainee aboard the ship,” he added.

The Justice Department said in a statement that Warsame was informed of his rights, but had agreed to keep talking to law enforcement officials for seven days after that. He was turned over to the FBI before being flown to New York.

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Warsame was questioned first by the military and then by other government interrogators, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters.

He said the interrogations on the ship were carried out strictly according to the Army’s guidelines for questioning detainees, which prohibit the use of torture or abusive techniques.

“The Army Field Manual was adhered to during this interrogation,” Lapan said.

The military carried out the operation that resulted in Warsame’s capture, Lapan indicated, but would not say whether special operations forces were involved or what naval ships participated.

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“It was a targeted counter-terrorism operation. We didn’t just happen upon him,” Lapan said.

“We developed intelligence and we conducted the mission.”

Carney said the government’s goal is to detain terror suspects when possible “to preserve the opportunity to elicit valuable intelligence that can help us protect the American people.”

He added: “In this case the government has been able to acquire very valuable intelligence.”

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Warsame faces nine counts including acting as a go-between between the two groups, providing them with both money and training between 2007 and 2011. He faces a life sentence if convicted on the terror and weapons charges.

The case provides an insight into how the Obama administration plans to question and try detainees outside war zones after closing the CIA’s secret prison network.

Last month, Obama’s nominee to be the next chief of US Special Operations Command, Vice Admiral William McRaven, told lawmakers that the United States could hold terror suspects on naval ships if necessary — until legal charges were filed in court.

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quit’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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