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Senate Proceeding 05-21-09 on May 21st, 2009 :: 4:41:30 to 5:08:20
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Jeff Sessions

4:41:27 to 4:41:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: quorum call: the presiding officer: t senator from alabama. mr. sessions: consent the call of the quorum be dispensed. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: madam president, i'd like to speak a few moments regarding the president's remarks on national security today. and concerning some of the national security issues in general.

Jeff Sessions

4:41:30 to 5:08:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

4:41:48 to 4:42:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: at the outset let me note that there are some points in the president's message that i do not agree with and some points of plain fact that he made that shou help us clarify some of the issues that have been raised in recent debates over national security. president obama endorsed the continued use

Jeff Sessions

4:42:13 to 4:42:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: commissions which is historic done by nations all over the world with some minor changes. so i reserve judgment on those changes until i see the details. but the president is right when he states that military commissions are -- quote -- "an

Jeff Sessions

4:42:36 to 4:42:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: appropriate van use trying d of war." the president noted "military commissions have a history in the united states dating george washington and the revolutionary war." and that's correct. as the president also noted, military commissions -- quote -- "allow for the protection of

Jeff Sessions

4:42:57 to 4:43:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: sensitive sources and methods of intelligence-gathering." cle quote. that's absolutely true, and an important principle in defending america. and he notes that the comm "the presentation of evidence gathered from the battlefield that cannot be effectively

Jeff Sessions

4:43:18 to 4:43:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: presented in a federal court." in other words, we have strict rules of courts. our soldiers are in a life-and-death struggle on the battlefield. they're not homicide investigators. they're not expected to be able to comply with every rule so the

Jeff Sessions

4:43:40 to 4:44:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: military commissions difference. it's also reassuring to so that presidento seethat president obama has stated that he will exercise his power as commander in chief to detain as war prisoners those al qaeda members who continue to pose a danger to the united states, but who cannot be tried by mil commissions. some may not be able to be tried

Jeff Sessions

4:44:02 to 4:44:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: by military commissions for legal reasons. for years we have heard criticism from some of our fringe groups on the left, criticism that have been echoed occasionally in this chamber that we must either try every enemy war them.

Jeff Sessions

4:44:23 to 4:44:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that is not the history of war. that's not what our law says. so be sustained. and it would pose a threat to fuss we get to that point -- and it would pose a threat to us if we get to that point. i'm glad to see this president obama rejected that notion.

Jeff Sessions

4:44:44 to 4:45:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: an as he noted in his remarks today, number of people that cannot processed for past crimes b who nonetheless pose danger to the security of the united states. amples of that threat include people who have received extensive explosive trainings al qaeda traing camps,

Jeff Sessions

4:45:05 to 4:45:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: commanded by commanded taliban troops in battle, expressed their allegiance to osama bin laden, or otherwise made it clear they want to kill americans. these are people who, in effect, remain at war with the united states." as i said, i release the american people. al qaeda terrorists and their

Jeff Sessions

4:45:27 to 4:45:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: affiliates are at war with the united states and those we war, must be prevented from attacking us again." close quote. well, that is true. that's but some people have a confused notion about that. the history of war and every

Jeff Sessions

4:45:49 to 4:46:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: nation of war -- in the geneva conventions -- that even lawful combat tants throughout the continuation of the war as long as -- and when they promote -- continue the war against the united states a that military person is a part of it. and if they are illegal

Jeff Sessions

4:46:10 to 4:46:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: combatants conducting a war outside the laws of geneva conventions and other treaties and laws conduct of war, such as bombing deliberately, intentionally men and women and children who are innocent, noncombatants, that -- those people are not entitled to

Jeff Sessions

4:46:31 to 4:46:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: be released. president obama also stated this mornin not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the united states who endanger the american people." well, that's hard to know for certain.

Jeff Sessions

4:46:53 to 4:47:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the uighurs -- they're talking about releasing the uighurs -- attorney general holder has said that, without legal authority, i believe. but just recently, according to the "los angeles times," the uighurs are an that are focused on china

Jeff Sessions

4:47:14 to 4:47:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: primarily, and they watched a soccer game -- they allow them to lady dame on with short sleeves, which offended one of these islamic uighurs and they jumped up and and threw it on the floor. so i just would say, it is difficult to know for certain

Jeff Sessions

4:47:35 to 4:47:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: who is a threat. and many of these may well harbor a secret determination to attack america as soon as they ar so i think the president has made clear that he does not have the full, freeiscretion to

Jeff Sessions

4:47:56 to 4:48:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: simply release al qaeda members andheir fellow travelers into the united states. federal law admission to the of anyone who is a member of a foreign terrorist organization. passed some years ago that bars

Jeff Sessions

4:48:19 to 4:48:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: admission of any person who is a member of a foreign terrori organization -- pretty common sense, right? if you're going to have an immigration policy, you don't want terrorists immigrating here. anyone who has provided support to a foreign terrorist organization. and it also bars from this country anyone who has received

Jeff Sessions

4:48:41 to 4:49:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: military-style traing at a camp operated by one of these terrorist organizations. the american congress took it upon itself to decide -- congress decided that individuals, ones who are tied to or have assisted or been trained by groups like al qaeda, pose a danger to the american people and should not

Jeff Sessions

4:49:04 to 4:49:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: admitted into this country. that congressional enactment is now the law. it's binding upon the president and the attorney general, who is charged by the constitution with enforcing the law. so w will not release detainees within the united states, i can only state no less. the law requires the president

Jeff Sessions

4:49:27 to 4:49:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to bar admission to al qaeda members or material supporters or those who trained terrorist camp, and i think he will follow that. i note his speech also is rather selective, however, in how it cites -- in how it uses this

Jeff Sessions

4:49:48 to 4:50:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: phrase: "the court order to release 17 uighur detainees that took place last fall." so he problem of a court ordering

Jeff Sessions

4:50:10 to 4:50:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: but he failed, inexplicably, to acknowledge or to happen to know maybe -- but surely what happened to that case on appeal. a district judge, a said they should be released or may be released. but the federal appellate court

Jeff Sessions

4:50:33 to 4:50:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: reversed it. and -- that order, releasing -- that would release uighurs i the united states. and this february, a couple months ago in kiamba v. obama held that the district court w

Jeff Sessions

4:50:55 to 4:51:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: said that did not have legal authority to order the release of the uighur detainees into that country. they have trained in a terrorist camp, a terrorist group that's connected to al qaeda, according to the u.s. department of treasury just a month ago, reaffirmed this determination that they are a terrorist organization.

Jeff Sessions

4:51:16 to 4:51:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and the appeals have wrote -- quote -- "never in the history of habeas corpus has any court thought it had the power to order an alien held overseas brought into the sovereign territory of a nation and then released into the general population.

Jeff Sessions

4:51:39 to 4:52:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: as we have also said, in the united states -- into the population." "we've also said," the court said, "in the united states who can come in and on what terms is the exclusive province of the

Jeff Sessions

4:52:01 to 4:52:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: executive branches." close quote. there are other things president said today that i would disagree with. first, president obama committed himself to banning interrogation of al qaeda detainees. i certainly oppose torture of

Jeff Sessions

4:52:22 to 4:52:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: any detainees, but he went on to state -- quote -- "some have argued," these techniques were necessary to keep -- quote -- "he could not disagree well, that's not exactly accurate. i just got to tell you.

Jeff Sessions

4:52:44 to 4:53:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: on september 6, 2006, president bush announced the transfer of to guantanamo. he also described information that the united states had obtained from these detainees as a result of these enhanced-interrogation actions.

Jeff Sessions

4:53:06 to 4:53:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and most people agree, many of these enhanced techniques clearly are some argue about some of them that may amount to torture. some say they're we have a statute that prohibits it atorture and it defines it pretty clearly. president bush noted then that abu zabada was captured by u.s. forces several months after the

Jeff Sessions

4:53:28 to 4:53:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: september 11 attacks fl several months he was captured, under interrogation, he revealed that khalid sheikh mohammed was the principa september 11 attacks. zaba terrorist attac operatives were planning to launch inside this country, an attack of which the united

Jeff Sessions

4:53:52 to 4:54:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: states had no previous knowledge. zabaida described the operatives involved in this attack and whereby they were located. this information allowed the united states to capture these terrorists, one while he was traveling in the united states. under enhanced ierrogation, zabaida also identified the

Jeff Sessions

4:54:13 to 4:54:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: identity of other september 11 plotters like ramzi al binzib and provided information that led to his capture. u.s. forces then interrogated him. information that both he and zabaida provided helped lead to the capture of khalid sheikh mohammed, the person who

Jeff Sessions

4:54:36 to 4:54:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. khalid sheikh mohammed also provided information that hped stop another planned tac on the united states when he was interrogated. k.s.m. provided information that led to the capture of a terrorist named zubai. the interrogation also le to the identification and capture

Jeff Sessions

4:54:59 to 4:55:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of an entire 17-member jamaya terrorist cell in southeast asia. according to president bush, information obtained as a result of an enhanced interrogation tech

Jeff Sessions

4:55:20 to 4:55:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: planned truck bomb attack on the united states troops in djibouti. interrogation also helped stop a planned car bomb attack on the u.s. embassy in pakistan, and it helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and crash them into heathrow airport in london. september 6, president bush said

Jeff Sessions

4:55:41 to 4:56:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: -- quote -- "information from terrorists a played a role in the capturing of nearly every single al qaeda member or associate detained by the united states and its allies." he concluded by noting, "al qaeda members subjected to interrogation by u.s. f

Jeff Sessions

4:56:03 to 4:56:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: have paid painted a picture of al qaeda's structure in and financing, communications and logistics. they identified al qaeda's travel routes and safe and explained how al qaeda's senior leadership communicates with its operatives in places like they provided informatn that has allowed us to make sense of documents a

Jeff Sessions

4:56:25 to 4:56:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that have been seized in terrorist raids. they have identified voices in recordings of intercepted calls, helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist communications. were it not for the information obtained, our intelligence community believes that al qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another

Jeff Sessions

4:56:48 to 4:57:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: attack against the american homeland by giving us information about terrorist plans, weould not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives." well, this is the information that was obtained in the last administration as a result of enhanced interrogation

Jeff Sessions

4:57:09 to 4:57:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: techniques of al qaeda detainees. it allows us to stop terrorist attacks. it allowed us to learn about al qaeda communications, how it was funded and how it operates. it even allowed us khalid sheikh mohammed, the organizer of 9/11.

Jeff Sessions

4:57:33 to 4:57:55( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so i don't think anyone here can reliably contend that this information wags n was not valuable. it was valua now, we have to be careful how we conduct interrogations. i think debate over this has helped us clarify the sponsibility we have to not participate in torture, but it

Jeff Sessions

4:57:56 to 4:58:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: doesot mean that we cannot use enhanced techniques to move a person to the point that they are -- that they provide information that can help protect this country. we've got to be careful we don't go too far. we have a history of far in reactions to matters that -- like this, and one of the

Jeff Sessions

4:58:18 to 4:58:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: things that we did, we put a wall between c.i.a. and f.b.i. we said, the c.i.a. shouldn't deal with dangerous thugs around the world to get information. after 9/11, it was clearly determined both of those bad ideas, and we reversed them immediately.

Jeff Sessions

4:58:40 to 4:59:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so don't nobody in this congress -- nobody in this congress should suggest that we can't make a mistake. and without an attack. that's something of significance and we shoulde proud of that. and we've got men and women in

Jeff Sessions

4:59:01 to 4:59:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the c.i.a., in the f.b.i., and in the united states military who are putting their lives on the line right now. i remember being several years ago in a foreign country, a country with a history of some violence the c.i.a. agent that met with us worked seven days a week, he had dinner with us at 8:00.

Jeff Sessions

4:59:22 to 4:59:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he said that was the earliest he had been off duty since he'd been there. their lives are at risk. they're putting their lives at risk for us, and we need to back them up when we k. if they make a miss -- back if they make a mistake, they need to be held to account for it.

Jeff Sessions

4:59:44 to 5:00:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so, madam president, i see my colleague from texas. i assume that you'd like to have some remarks. and i'm want sure what the expectation -- and i'm not sure what the expection is for the relief here but i'll wrap up and just

Jeff Sessions

5:00:05 to 5:00:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: because this is important. we're in an importa issue. and i just don't feel that the issue has only one side. and i -- i've got to tell you, i felt that the president's

Jeff Sessions

5:00:26 to 5:00:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: remarks today were reflected the view only he had the right view of how these matters should be conducted and that everybody else that didn't had less decency than he. but i don't think it's any doubt that the work this nation did after 9/11 has stopped further attacks and saved the lives of

Jeff Sessions

5:00:47 to 5:01:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: americans. and it can and should be done consistent with the laws of this country, but that does not mea that unlawful terrorists, not legitimate prisoners of war, can't be subjected to interrogation. they can be. and they have been.

Jeff Sessions

5:01:17 to 5:01:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and i trust we'll have the future. the president has argued today that releasing the office legal counsel memos in the department of justice and exposing the details of the t and actually tricks sometimes

Jeff Sessions

5:01:39 to 5:01:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that the c.i.a. has used will not harm national security, because this president has decided not to use those techniques. i would simply point out that the war with al qaeda will not end with this that future

Jeff Sessions

5:02:00 to 5:02:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: even his administration may need to have access to reasonable interrogation techniques in providing this information is

Jeff Sessions

5:02:29 to 5:02:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: not the right thing for us. and it is odd that out of all the materials that get released, we haven't had further information be released from the intelligence agencies that would provide further e interrogation that has enabled us to stop other attacks on our

Jeff Sessions

5:02:50 to 5:03:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: country. i don't know why they would not want to release that. they want to release the techniques and a lot of other things. so when the president released the legal counsel's interrogation memos, he exercised the certain information -- excised certain information from the memos and

Jeff Sessions

5:03:12 to 5:03:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: left out other memos entirely. information described in detail, the information obtained as a result of enhanced interrogation of al qaeda detainees. if the president really believes that these interrogations don't work, i would urge them to release these other memos, ones that vice president cheney has

Jeff Sessions

5:03:37 to 5:03:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: called on to be released. if he believes in full transparency, why don't we see that we know some of it because it was in president bush's september 6 -- remarks.

Jeff Sessions

5:03:58 to 5:04:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so, provide remarks for the record. i'll just sum up and say way. we're in a great national effort. we're now sending 17,000 more troops to afghanistan. i think president obama studied that carefully. i know he, like myself and most

Jeff Sessions

5:04:20 to 5:04:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of us, do not look forward to having to send more troops there but he decided it was important for america and our stability in the region and the world that they be sent there. thisongress has supported that. and so we continue this struggle.

Jeff Sessions

5:04:41 to 5:05:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it's going to be a and intelligence is a critical component of our success against the war against the terrorists. that's what the 9/11 commission told us. that's what the american people understood with clarity, that good intelligence prevents attacks and saves lives. good intelligence is so

Jeff Sessions

5:05:04 to 5:05:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: valuable, it's almost invaluable invaluable. and we got to be careful set about passing more and more rules of our investigators and military people to do their job and it can hurt us. it can -- and really result, as

Jeff Sessions

5:05:30 to 5:05:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we found from previous that we didn't when we put a wall between the f.b.i. and we limited who -- the c.i.a. and these dangerous areas of the world could get information from. so i would share a deep concern about that. and one more thing i would conclude with.

Jeff Sessions

5:05:52 to 5:06:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the president talked repeatedly in his speech in a most despair ranching manner about -- despair ranching manner about -- disparaging manner about guantanamo. i thi believe he has cast a shadow over the fabulous men and women who serve us there who participated in running a very fine facility.

Jeff Sessions

5:06:14 to 5:06:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i would he had taken the opportunity to clearly air about guantanamo, our military prison. do you know, colleagues, that not one single person subjected to waterboarding at guantanamo? actually, there are only three

Jeff Sessions

5:06:35 to 5:06:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: instances of it, all done by our intelligence agency in different places. none of that occurred there. i wish he had said that. i wish he had quoted from one of the investigative reports of what happened at guantanamo, this is what the finder found. they found one incident in which

Jeff Sessions

5:06:59 to 5:07:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: a series of techniques were used during interrogation not -- no one of which would have amounted to torturing that person but all together they concluded it put too much stress individual and that it was -- violated the law against torture. well, that shouldn't have been

Jeff Sessions

5:07:22 to 5:07:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: done. but to hear the talk about guantanamo, you would think we were waterboarding people constantly and torturing people constantly. that's just not what happened there. i've been there twice. these are great men and women down there trying to serve our country. they are absolutely committed to

Jeff Sessions

5:07:44 to 5:08:05( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: trying to extract as much good informion they could to protect america, but they were trying not violate the law. and if they cross that line, it. but i just want to say, it's not the kind of thing that was systematically occurring and i wish the president had taken a -- the opportunity as

Jeff Sessions

5:08:06 to 5:08:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: commander in chief of our men and w harm's way to defend and explain that a lot of the? aegations

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