GOP: Trial of Bin Laden Spokesman Bad Precedent

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Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, pleaded not guilty Friday in a New York courtroom to charges of conspiring to kill Americans.

But as government officials applaud the arrest, Republican lawmakers are raising questions about the way the Obama administration is handling this high-profile prisoner, calling the trial a "bad precedent."

"We're now setting new precedent that will come back to bite us," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., warned. "You're putting people like this into federal court, giving them the same constitutional rights as an American citizen."

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck talked more about the Abu Ghaith case and the Obama administration's push to have terror suspects tried in federal courts on CBN's Newswatch, March 8.

Graham, along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., says Abu Ghaith should be interrogated and face a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.

They've accused the White House of circumventing Congress and sneaking the terror suspect into New York City.

Abu Ghaith was captured in Turkey and transferred to Jordan where the United States took custody of him last week.

According to U.S. officials, the CIA has been tracking him for years as he moved from Afghanistan to Iran, and then to Turkey.

"This is a man who is in the inner circle of bin Laden's al Qaeda operations and now we have him alive and he's talking," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said.

U.S. officials say Abu Ghaith has already revealed "key intelligence" about the current status, personnel and finances of al Qaeda.

"This arrest sends an unmistakable message: there is no corner of the world where you can escape from justice because we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Prosecutors say that during his time as al Qaeda spokesman, Abu Ghaith applauded the attacks of 9/11 and warned there would be more. More recently, they added, he was a part of an al Qaeda senior management council.

Terror experts say four senior members of al Qaeda members may still be living in Iran.

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Efrem Graham and Caitlin Burke

Efrem Graham and Caitlin Burke

CBN News

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