Washington D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement in response to claims made by proponents of indefinitely detaining individuals captured on United States soil, including United States citizens:
“Recent comments made by former high level government officials, including former Attorney Generals Mukasey and Meese, in support of indefinitely detaining individuals captured on US soil – including United States citizens – are deeply concerning. I am surprised by the lack concern for protecting the Constitution, due process and civil rights. Besides contradicting the Constitution, to claim that we are somehow ‘rewarding terrorist’ is disingenuous and purely political. I’m am deeply disturbed by these comments, and am concerned by the ideological posturing on a national security issue.
“Specifically, the claim that my amendment will somehow encourage terrorists to come to the United States is ridiculous. Both the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration have done a tremendous job of prosecuting terrorists in the United State without the use of indefinite detention, and without ultimately utilizing military custody in the United States. The strength of our court system should be unquestioned. Since September 11th, our Federal courts and domestic law enforcement agencies have successfully prosecuted over four hundred defendants charged with crimes related to international terrorism in the United States since 9/11. As we have seen time and time again, if a terrorist seeks to attack us here at home, they will be detained, prosecuted by the full extent of the law and spend the rest of their life in prison. That is a proven track record of success that we should embrace, not attack or question.
“Clearly, from my position as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have done nothing but support this administration, and the previous administration, as they have worked to punish terrorist and violent extremists as they plot and plan attacks against our nation. National security is not a partisan issue and I would urge the authors of this letter to keep that in mind. My amendment has bi-partisan support in the House and by national security professionals.
“What my bipartisan amendment does is very simple. The Smith/Amash amendment will change existing law to ensure all due process rights enshrined in the Constitution are guaranteed to individuals detained on US soil and clarify that the only options for anyone detained in the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) are Article III courts. It strictly prohibits military commissions and indefinite detention. If proponents of indefinite detention have an issue with this amendment, then there issue is not with me, it is with the Founding Fathers.