WASHINGTON — Six US senators, including Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown, today introduced legislation to revamp procedures for holding suspected terrorists, and to reaffirm the president’s constitutional authority to detain and prosecute suspects being held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to a statement from Brown.
Brown will co-sponsor the Military Detainee Procedures Improvement Act of 2011 with Republican senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
The legislation would require that captured members of al-Qaeda, the Taliban or affiliated terror groups be held in military custody, unless the secretary of defense orders the prisoners transferred to civilian custody. It would prohibit the appropriation of money for an alternative prison to Guantanamo on US soil. The measure would also require the secretary of defense to scrutinize the transfer of detainees to other countries, and would establish as the position of the Congress that alleged members of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups should be tried by military commissions.
“Terrorists should be detained at Guantanamo Bay, and tried according to the laws of military justice,” Brown said in a statement. “Terrorists should not be allowed to enjoy the rights and privileges protected by the U.S. Constitution. These are not common street criminals, they are terrorists who have one stated purpose: to kill Americans and our allies.”
Brown, a lieutenant colonel and 31 year member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, will visit Guantanamo Bay for a briefing on the detainee facilities later this month, according to his office.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.