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Napolitano Says She Was Not Consulted in Decision to Try KSM in New York City

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano whether Attorney General Eric Holder consulted her before deciding to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators in a federal court in New York.

“No, I was not consulted,” said Napolitano. “That is a prosecution decision and I think it was properly made by the attorney general.”

That did not satisfy Cornyn, who said he was concerned that the decision was “not fully vetted.” He then asked whether the alleged terrorists would receive any special immigration rights by being transferred to the United States, so that they could apply for asylum and ultimately be released to run free on U.S. soil.

No, said Napolitano, “a detainee who is brought here for purposes of prosecution, they are paroled into the country only for purposes of prosecution. There are no immigration benefits that accrue to that.” If the defendant is acquitted, she said, echoing the Attorney General’s previous testimony, “then what would happen is we would immediately take that individual and move them into removal proceedings,” which would result in his deportation. “They get no immigration rights in that context that are any different than where they are right now.”

Cornyn was not convinced. “They would have some legal rights would they not? And you wouldn’t be the one making that decision,” he said, insisting that it would ultimately be up to a court.

“If because of coerceive interrogation techniques someone decides he can’t be tried in an Article 3 court, what guarantees do we have that he can be detained indefinitely, either here or somewhere else?”

Napolitano responded that the attorney general determined that “this trial can be held, and and can be held successfully in New York City.”

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