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Bond On Detroit Case: Obama Didn't Learn From Bush's Mistakes

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"In December 2001, the Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid, was immediately charged in federal court, rather than being designated as an enemy combatant and questioned about his terrorist ties," says Bond. "Fortunately, the Bush Administration did not repeat this mistake with Jose Padilla who was named an enemy combatant, which allowed him to be interrogated, before eventually facing criminal charges."

He continues: "Yet today with the experience of eight years in this war behind us, we have regressed, treating the Christmas Day bomber and the Somali pirate as common criminals, rather than seizing the opportunity to obtain timely intelligence from these terrorists. This is a grave error that could have dangerous consequences for our nation."

It's worth noting that President Bush had military tribunals as an option by November 2001 when he signed an order establishing rules for tribunals. That was a month before Reid's attempted attack on American Airlines Flight 63.

At a January 2001 press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft answered a question about why the Administration opted not to use a tribunal in the case of Reid. "I did confer with the Department of Defense and with their general counsel, and they had no objective to our proceeding in this manner," Ashcroft said.

A search on Nexis found no evidence of controversy over Bush decision to try Reid in federal court, and no criticism from Bond on the handling of the case.

Here's Bond's full statement:

"We have learned the hard way that trying terrorists in federal court comes at a high price, from losing out on potentially life-saving intelligence to compromising our sources and methods. We must treat these terrorists as what they are--not common criminals, but enemy combatants in a war.

"In December 2001, the Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid, was immediately charged in federal court, rather than being designated as an enemy combatant and questioned about his terrorist ties. Fortunately, the Bush Administration did not repeat this mistake with Jose Padilla who was named an enemy combatant, which allowed him to be interrogated, before eventually facing criminal charges.

"Yet today with the experience of eight years in this war behind us, we have regressed, treating the Christmas Day bomber and the Somali pirate as common criminals, rather than seizing the opportunity to obtain timely intelligence from these terrorists. This is a grave error that could have dangerous consequences for our nation."

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