MSNBC host Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that it is "unprecedented" to try foreign terror suspects through the United States' judicial system, stating, "It's unprecedented to afford constitutional rights to, basically, prisoners of war." In fact, during the Bush and Clinton administrations numerous foreign terrorists have been tried and imprisoned by our federal system, including 9-11 conspirator Zacarious Moussaoui and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.
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Scarborough suggested trials of foreign terror suspects in federal justice system are "unprecedented"
From the November 16 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
SCARBOROUGH: Giuliani called it ideology run wild. You had ideology, a lot of Democrats would say, on the right for eight years under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney where these people were thrown in prisons and they didn't get lawyers and of course we've debated that debate.
It seems to me Eric Holder and Barack Obama come into office and Democrats take over and we go all the way to the other side doing something unprecedented. And Mark Halperin, you had Pat Leahy - and I must say I am completely flummoxed as to why the chairman of the Judiciary Committee would compare Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to Timothy McVeigh. Timothy McVeigh, born in the United States of America, a citizen of the United States of America, afforded all the constitutional protections that are afforded to those who are citizens of the United States of America. And he and people like him have been afforded those constitutional protections for over 200 years. People that blow up Americans - kill them - this has never happened before. It's unprecedented to afford constitutional rights to, basically, prisoners of war.
Fact: Clinton and Bush administrations tried and imprisoned foreign terror suspects in our federal system
Bush administration used federal justice system to bring several foreign terrorism suspects to justice. During the George W. Bush administration, several foreign terrorists were brought to justice through the federal justice system, including 9-11 conspirator Zacarious Moussaoui, "Shoe bomber" Richard Reid and East African embassy bombing perpetrators Wahid el-Hage, Mohammed Sadiq Odeh, Mohammed Rashed al-Owhali, and Khalfan Khamis Mohammed.
Clinton administration also used federal justice system to bring foreign terror suspects to justice. During the Clinton administration, 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and "urban terrorism" plotters Sheik Oma Abdel Rahman and others were brought to justice through the federal justice system.
There are already 216 international terrorists in U.S. prisons. A May 29 Slate.com article reported that according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, "federal facilities on American soil currently house 216 international terrorists and 139 domestic terrorists. Some of these miscreants have been locked up here since the early 1990s. None of them has escaped. At the most secure prisons, nobody has ever escaped."