Constitution Project Rejects Governor McDonnell's Assessment of Intelligence Gathering through Traditional Federal Prosecution

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matthew Allee
(202) 580-6922 or
mallee@constitutionproject.org

Constitution Project Rejects Governor McDonnell's Assessment of Intelligence Gathering through Traditional Federal Prosecution

Signatories to Beyond Guantánamo support federal prosecution of Abdulmutallab

WASHINGTON -  In the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the
Union address tonight, Governor Bob McDonnell suggested that federal
authorities erred in choosing to prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in
traditional federal court. He implied that the government would have
obtained additional intelligence had it kept him outside the
jurisdiction of our traditional legal system.

In fact, multiple signatories to Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration
have supported the administration's decision to prosecute Abdulmutallab
in federal court. Former U.S. Attorneys James Brady and Richard
Rossman, both of Michigan, in an opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press said, in part:

"Those
who propose transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody for
interrogation ignore that he reportedly proffered valuable information
immediately upon his arrest. They imply that military interrogation
will use "alternative methods of interrogation" that will therefore
elicit more accurate and useable information.

We find this implication extremely disturbing.

First,
abusive methods of interrogation are not consistent with our values and
constitutional principles, and treating some criminal cases differently
from others would ultimately result in fundamental changes to our
criminal justice system.

Second, they do not work; traditional
interrogation techniques have repeatedly been shown to elicit more, and
more accurate, information.

We applaud the administration's
decision to try Abdulmutallab in federal court, even while we remain
troubled by its November announcement that it will try other terror
suspects in the flawed military commission process."

To view the full text of Brady and Rossman's opinion piece, go to:
http://www.freep.com/article/20100111/OPINION05/100111063/1231/opinion05/American-values-v.-Abdulmutallab?GID=Ur4o1MWiG1f7vysd8hfHpMDXSEe6RyixryVWeqq7HXs%3D

Others have also supported the decision to prosecute Abdulmutallab in federal court, including:

Mickey Edwards:
http://correspondents.theatlantic.com/mickey_edwards/2010/01/the_unbelievers.php

Bob Barr:
http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2010/01/07/time-to-give-obama-a-break/

http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2010/01/11/prosecute-christmas-bomber-in-federal-court/

David Irvine and Virginia Sloan:
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/hotline/2010/01/christmas-day-bomber-prompts-unwise.php

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The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at http://constitutionproject.org/.

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