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Senate Proceeding on Nov 5th, 2009 :: 6:35:35 to 6:50:45
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Carl Levin

6:35:34 to 6:35:57( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: history and mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i very much oppose the graham amendment, and i want toake a

Carl Levin

6:35:35 to 6:50:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Carl Levin

Carl Levin

6:35:58 to 6:36:18( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: few minutes and explain why. it's been argued that we're at war, and indeed we are. i can't think of anything clearer that any of us understand in this country than we are at war. being at war, it totally mystifies me why we would deny ourselves one of the tools that we can use against people who

Carl Levin

6:36:19 to 6:36:40( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: are attacking us, who have attacked us, who will attack us, who will kill us, who kill innocent people. why we would deny ourselves one of the tools which are available to try these people, to lock them up away the key, why we would by

Carl Levin

6:36:41 to 6:37:02( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: law say that these particular group of people in a federal court, they can only be tried in a military commission, when we have tried so many terrorists in court, convicted them, executed them, is something that i do understand. i believe we ought to not only throw the book at these people,

Carl Levin

6:37:03 to 6:37:23( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: i think we ought to throw both books at these people. why limit ourselves to one book, the book procedures for military commissions? why would we deny ourselves the opportunity if it's more effective for whatever reasons the justice department determines to be more effective

Carl Levin

6:37:24 to 6:37:44( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: to prosecute in why would we deny them that? fact, under this amendment, they could not even continue the prosecution that they had begun. the language of t says either to commence or continue the prosecution in an article 3 court. so the question isn't whether these are the most dangerous

Carl Levin

6:37:45 to 6:38:06( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: people around. they are. i also went down to guantanamo. i went with senator graham, and we watched the proceeding agait khalid sheikh muhammad. i want us to use all of the tools. i want them all to be available. i want the justice department to be able to determine which is

Carl Levin

6:38:07 to 6:38:28( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: more to decide in a political setting, in a legislative setting that they cannot use of the tools which has been proven to be effective against dozens of terrorists. now, what about the law of war what about war crimes? the argument is these are war crimes.

Carl Levin

6:38:29 to 6:38:49( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: as far as i'm concerned, they are crimes, they are war crimes, both. war crimes can be prosecuted in an article now, let me repeat that because the argument here is these are war crimes. war crimes can be prosecuted in an article 3 court under our

Carl Levin

6:38:50 to 6:39:10( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: laws that we've adopted about ten or 15 years ago. socha lid sheikh muhammad needs -- sohalid sheikh muhammad needs to be given justice, he needs to be dealt with as strongly as we possibly can and as effectively as we possibly can. he was the mastermind, i believe, of 9/11, and i don't

Carl Levin

6:39:11 to 6:39:31( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: think there's a member of this body that would not want to see him dealt with as strongly as is possibly -- can be possibly done. i don't know why we would tell the justice department that they only can consider one of the two tools that they could against him. they only can consider the military commissions.

Carl Levin

6:39:32 to 6:39:52( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: they can't consider article 3 courts. now, i have been deeply involved in rewriting the military commissions law. that law when we first wrote i was defective and i argued defective. this body adopted it. that's the way things work.

Carl Levin

6:39:53 to 6:40:14( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: the majority decided to go with it. it was not usable. and so we took a major step in the last few months to revise the military commissions law, and i led that or that effort, and i know how important it is, but it was

Carl Levin

6:40:15 to 6:40:36( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: never our intent to make that the exclusive remedy for people who would attack us or attack this country. we want that remedy to be available if that is the most effective remedy, but there is nothing in that law that we wrote or intended that said that

Carl Levin

6:40:37 to 6:40:58( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: this would displace article 3 courts if the justice d decided that the most effective place to try an alleged terrorist was an article 3 court. are are we going to actually be on the floor of the u.s. senate and we're going to decide which

Carl Levin

6:40:59 to 6:41:20( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: terr article 3 courts and which one should be tried in military commissions court? why would we tie the hands of the ju way? i know that senator graham feels very strongly that these should be tried in front of military commissions, and if he were the justice department or if he were the attorney general, he may make that decision, assuming he

Carl Levin

6:41:21 to 6:41:43( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: knows all of t facts that go into the decision. he may make that decision, and he could strongly recommend it to the justice department. but why he would want or we would decide to displace the discretion of the justice department is a mystery to me. i find more importantly, the attorney

Carl Levin

6:41:44 to 6:42:04( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: general and the secretary of defense find it unacceptable. they have urged us not to do this. they have written our leaders, senator reid, senator mcnnell, opposing the graham amendment. they say here in their letter that there is a joint prosecution protocol that the

Carl Levin

6:42:05 to 6:42:26( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: departments are currently engaged in a careful case by case evaluation of the cases of the guantanamo detainees who have been referred for possible prosecution to determine whether they should be prosecuted in an article 3 court or by military commission. we are confident, they say, that the forum selection decisions

Carl Levin

6:42:27 to 6:42:47( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: that are made pursuant to that process will best serve our national security interests. now, that's the attorney general of the united states and the secretary of defense. can we truly here say that we are going to displace that process which will determine what is the most effective way to prosecute tse people?

Carl Levin

6:42:48 to 6:43:10( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: can we and should we do that? i hope not. in the end, by saying the following in their letter -- and they end by saying the following in their letter of october 30 -- "the exercise of prosecutorial function should be and always remain a prosecutorial function. we must be in a position to use every lawful instrument of

Carl Levin

6:43:11 to 6:43:32( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: national power, including both courts and military commissions to ensure that terrorists are brought to enough and can no longer threaten american lives." if we adopt the graham amendment, we're saying no, we're only going to use one instrument of national power. we're not going to consider both

Carl Levin

6:43:33 to 6:43:55( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: instruments of national power. and that is truly not only limiting our options, but tying one of our hands behind our back in the essential prosecution of these people. madam moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, was convicted in

Carl Levin

6:43:56 to 6:44:16( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: federal court in may of 2006 for conspiring to hijack the aircraft and crash them into the world trade center. he was quoted by senator graham as saying that we're at war with you people, and i don't have the slig it, and if he were ever

Carl Levin

6:44:17 to 6:44:38( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: released, he would go back to war, but i also have no doubt about something else -- he was saying that in a federal court after being convicted in a federal court of the terrorist acts that he perpetrated. he is now in a supermax facility

Carl Levin

6:44:39 to 6:44:59( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: in florence, colorado. he's serving life imprisonment without parole. if the graham amendment had been in place at the time moussaoui was being prosecuted -- indeed, if the graham amendment had come in the middle of that prosecution, the prosecution would have had to

Carl Levin

6:45:00 to 6:45:20( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: have been suspended. now, this amendment, if it is adopted, is going to make it more difficult to bring some of the 9/11 terrorists to justice. let me share some of the reasons why this possibility exists. a court could decide that one of

Carl Levin

6:45:21 to 6:45:41( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: the 9/11 detainees does not meet the test under the military commission's law of being an unprivileged enemy belligerent. in particular, a court could decide that one of the 9/11 terrorists -- alleged terrorists -- did not participate in an

Carl Levin

6:45:42 to 6:46:02( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: hostility and, therefore, was not subject -- a belligerent subject to the laws of war. and so we're saying to the justice partment, if you see that possibility that someone could be let out or somebody could be found not g on that kind of a technicality, we're not going to let you go

Carl Levin

6:46:03 to 6:46:24( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: and try that persona federal court. you must try that technicality. why do we want to do that? how can we reach judgment on all of the possible factual situations which might allow one of these people to escape justice?

Carl Levin

6:46:25 to 6:46:45( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: we can't do that. that's what prosecutors are for. that's what a justice department is for. we should be giving them tools, not denying them tools. we should be handing them every possible tool we can give them to prosecute these people instead of saying, you can't use this tool or you can't use that tool.

Carl Levin

6:46:46 to 6:47:06( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: a court could decide that the crimes committed by one of the 9/11 detainees is not just tici under the military commissions act. therefore, we're going to say, you got to prosecute them there anyway.

Carl Levin

6:47:07 to 6:47:29( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: under the military commissions act cannot be retroactively applied to an offense. it took place before the enactment of the act. in our language, they can be tried, even though it is a retroactive application. what happens if that occurs and then a court comes along and

Carl Levin

6:47:30 to 6:47:51( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: says- a court of appeals following a military commission says, no, you can't do that? why would we not want the justice department to be weigh all of these possible escape loopholes that a defendant could use and decide that they've got a better chance of convicting somebody and

Carl Levin

6:47:52 to 6:48:13( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: making that conviction stick if they proceed in an article 3 court? and maybe the procedural rights which we have written in our military commissions act, which is nowaw, maybe a court will determine they are not adequate. maybe they'll throw out the entire process, despite our best efforts to correct what we

Carl Levin

6:48:14 to 6:48:34( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: previously we shoul not presume the outcome of the judicial process and thr may be needed to bring the 9/11 terrorists to justice. we should not be tyin of our prosecutors against these people. prosecutorial discretion is one

Carl Levin

6:48:35 to 6:48:55( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: of the cornerstones of the american judicial system. it is wrong for us to be limiting that discretion by directing cases to a particular forum. it denies our prosecutors the ability to choose the forum that is best suited to a outcome in the case.

Carl Levin

6:48:56 to 6:49:17( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: the mechanism of cutting off funds for a prosecution -- which is what this amendment does -- becauseongress believes that a prosecution should take place in one forum or another would set a terrible precedent. we should not be intervening in that kind of decisions through the appropriations act.

Carl Levin

6:49:18 to 6:49:38( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: so the determination of the proper forum for the trial of 9/11 terrorists should be made by the professional prosecutors, based on the circumstances of the case a to where is gain a successful prosecution.

Carl Levin

6:49:39 to 6:50:02( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: these cases -- we should not decide where these cases are i don't believe we should presume that they'll be tried in one place or another. there is a process underway, including both defense department and the justice department to make a be the most effective place to

Carl Levin

6:50:03 to 6:50:26( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: try these terrorists. and so, that is the appropriate process, and we ought to let it continue without this interventi by the senate. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

Carl Levin

6:50:32 to 6:50:46( Edit History Discussion )

Carl Levin: quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i would ask further proceedin under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: and i would ask unanimous conse president, that the letter from the attorney general and the

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