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McConnell fears terror trial in Ky, U.S. says don't worry

by WHAS11


Posted on June 17, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 17 at 9:41 PM

(WHAS11) – For the past few days major politicians across Kentucky have expressed concern about the handling of a terrorism case after the arrests of two men in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Now the federal government is responding to those accusations.

“Before this ill advised decision to try these foreign terrorists in Bowling Green, I think I’m fairly safe in saying there is not a foreign terrorist in the world who could have found Bowling Green, Kentucky on a map, they know where it is now,” Senator McConnell said.

In Louisville, U.S. Attorney David Hale said hold on - a potential trial here does not endanger Kentucky and that the counter-terrorism investigation inspires confidence, not fear. 

“To be clear, this investigation dismantled a potential terrorist threat,” Hale said.  “It did not create one.”

“Maybe I’ll find somebody in Warren County who thinks it's a good idea to try these foreign terrorist here, but I haven't run into them yet,” McConnell said. 

In fact, McConnell need only ask Bowling Green's U.S. Senator Rand Paul.  We did.

"I think in this instance, if you capture them here, I think the federal courts probably can take care of them much more swiftly than Guantanamo and actually give them very lengthy sentences if they are found guilty," Rand Paul said.

Paul points to more than 400 convictions of other terror suspects in the United States.

“There's ample evidence that we can try people here [and] imprison them,” Paul said. “And then we get away from the backlash we get from other countries if we hold people without determination."

McConnell says he's looked at the 400 other convictions and none are like the Bowling Green case.

“This is the only case in which an alleged foreign terrorist has gotten into the United States as a result of a mistake made by the U.S. government and then is being given the protection of the bill of rights by a very bad decision on the part of the attorney general that he has the authority to make but should not make,” McConnell said.

"Since the arrest of the two Iraqi Nationals in Bowling Green last month I have met with intelligence and law enforcement officials in Washington,” Brett Guthrie, congressman, said. “After learning more background I believe the Bowling Green terrorists must be tried in Guantanamo Bay.”

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is disputing the Justice Department's defense of prosecuting terrorism suspects in Kentucky, saying the case is unique.
McConnell wants the two Iraqis tried in Guantanamo Bay rather than in civilian court in Kentucky. The Kentucky Republican met Friday with local elected officials and law enforcement in Bowling Green, where the suspects were arrested.
Afterward, McConnell took aim at Attorney General Eric Holder's comments Thursday night that civilian courts have successfully handled terror trials hundreds of times.
McConnell said Holder's defense of trying the suspects in civilian court is "ill-advised." McConnell said this case is unique because it involves alleged foreign terrorists who entered the country as a result of a mistake by the government and are being given protections of the Bill of Rights.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)