Terrorism Cases Should Be Tried in Federal Court - Statements

Lawmakers, legal experts and counterterrorism officials from across the ideological spectrum have spoken out in support of using our trusted federal criminal courts:

quoteI don't know where the [Republican] claim comes that we are less safe…In eight years the military commissions have put three people on trial. Two of them served relatively short sentences and are free. One guy is in jail. Meanwhile, the federal courts, our Article III, regular legal court system, has put dozens of terrorists in jail and they're fully capable of doing it. So the suggestion that somehow a military commission is the way to go isn't…borne out by the history of the military commissions…The nation is still at risk…But to suggest that somehow we have become much less safer because of the actions of the administration, I don't think are borne out by the facts."
— General Colin Powell on CBS' Face the Nation (Sunday, February 21, 2010)
 
quoteThere is no precedent in the history of our Nation in which Congress has intervened in such a manner to prohibit the prosecution of particular persons or crimes."
— U.S. Department of Justice
 
quoteCries to try terrorists only in military courts lack foundation. There have been three convictions of terrorists in the military tribunal system since 9/11, and hundreds in the criminal justice system—including high-profile terrorists such as Reid and 9/11 plotter Zacarious Moussaoui…And the notion that America's counterterrorism professionals and America's system of justice are unable to handle these murderous miscreants is absurd."
— John Brennan, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism in USA Today (Tuesday, February 9, 2010)
 
quoteThis rush to military commissions is based on premises that are not true."
— John Bellinger, Legal Adviser to the Department of State (2005–09) and Legal Advisor to Bush National Security Council (2001–2005) in New York Times, (Tuesday, March 9, 2010)
 
quoteWe shouldn’t inadvertently handcuff ourselves by taking [federal criminal trials] completely out of our tool kit."
— Juan C. Zarate, Deputy National Security Adviser for Combating Terrorism to President George W. Bush (2005–09) in New York Times, (Tuesday, March 9, 2010)
 
quoteThey made a decision for an Article III court. Stick to it."
— Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Wall Street Journal (Saturday, March 6, 2010)