Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) believes the Obama Administration should have ordered that alleged terrorist Umar Abdulmutallab be taken into military custody and held as an enemy combatant, his spokesman tells TPMmuckraker.
Abdulmutallab is currently in federal prison in Michigan and is expected to be tried in U.S. district court.
Hoekstra “also believes that the first responsibility the federal government had is gathering what intelligence they could from him, and then emphasizing his prosecution second,” said Jamal Ware, the congressman’s spokesman.
Asked whether Hoekstra thinks the Bush Administration should have tried shoe bomber Richard Reid in federal court — where he was convicted in 2003 — Ware says he doesn’t believe Hoekstra has looked back at the issue in detail.
“The issue here isn’t to look at these things piecemeal,” Ware says. “It’s to figure out, how do you address situations where people like Abdulmutallab and Reid that are taken into custody after failed attacks on American soil.”
To figure out a policy for such cases going forward, Hoekstra believes there needs to be “a broader and comprehensive review,” Ware says.
The “enemy combatant” argument puts Hoekstra, who has been taking the Obama Administration to task on its handling of the Abdulmutallab case, in line with two other prominent Republicans, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Rep. Pete King (R-NY), that have argued for the suspect to be tried in a military tribunal. We’ve reached out to both Ridge and King to ask for their views on the Reid case.
Hoekstra, who is running for governor, found himself in hot water yesterday for citing the attempted attack on the Northwest Airlines plane in a fundraising letter.