Today, the House is considering the Intelligence Authorization Act, legislation that will strengthen our intelligence community's capabilities and increase our security. However, throughout the debate on these serious national security issues, Republicans have used the politics of fear and myths about security policies in an attempt to score political points. Below are a few examples of factually inaccurate statements and the reasons why they are wrong – and how, in fact, the policies in place are working effectively to stop terrorists and keep them from harming our nation.
MYTH: “Reading Miranda rights to terrorists means we get less intelligence information.”
FACT: Providing a Miranda warning does not stop intelligence gathering and does not cause terrorist suspects to stop talking.
• The Justice Department indicates that it has received intelligence information from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect who attempted to detonate an explosive device on board a Northwest Airlines flight in December.
• FBI interrogators continued to question the bomber and gain useful intelligence information after he was read his Miranda rights and jailed.
• Other terrorists that have been successfully convicted by federal courts have been read Miranda rights, including Richard Reid (the “Shoebomber”), hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui, and the Mumbai attack’s David Headley.
MYTH: “Military commissions are better than civilian trials.”
FACT: The U.S. justice system works. FBI agents and federal prosecutors work tirelessly to protect Americans and are responsible for convicting and imprisoning over 300 terrorists in the past decade.
• The U.S. has convicted and imprisoned more than 300 terrorists since 9/11 in federal courts. Among those convicted and sent to prison include some of the world’s most notorious terrorists:
o Richard C. Reid – “Shoe Bomber”
o Zacharias Moussaoui
o Ramzi Yousef – mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings
o Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman – conspirator behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
o Muhammad Salameh – played a role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
o U.S. Embassy in East Africa bombing perpetrators: Wahid el-Hage, Mohammed Sadiq Odeh, Mohammed Rashed al-Owhali, and Khalfan Khamis Mohammed
o Timothy McVeigh
o Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri
• Military tribunals have convicted only 3 terrorists during this time – two of whom have since been released.
MYTH: “We can’t close Guantanamo because U.S. prisons can’t hold terrorists safely.”
FACT: Imprisoning detainees in the U.S. is the safest and toughest option for America and one of the most effective means of battling terrorism.
• Detainees that are transferred to the U.S. from Guantanamo Bay will be held in federal “supermax” prisons – highly secure facilities that hold the most dangerous and violent criminals in the U.S.
• No one has ever escaped from a “supermax” prison.
• According to the Department of Justice, there are more than 200 terrorists currently being held securely in Bureau of Prisons facilities, where they cannot harm Americans or attack our nation.
• Guantanamo has become a symbol across the world that is used to recruit terrorists who would attack America. Closing it will remove that recruitment tool.