This morning, Fox News Sunday hosted a debate on national security between Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), but it turned out that the two senators agreed on most issues. Nelson declared that trials of Guantanamo detainees should not take place in the United States and detainees should not be imprisoned here. He distinguished between terrorists like the Blind Sheikh — who “committed violations of American law” — and those at Guantanamo to say the latter should be kept out of the U.S.:
NELSON: I think the tribunals can occur anywhere, and I prefer not to see them occur in America, within the continental United States. Once they’re convicted, I’m assuming they will be, then I think we need to work out with their countries an arrangement where they’re incarcerated there. [...]
But for those detainees who have violated the rules of war, we don’t have to worry about bringing them here. I think they need to be kept elsewhere, wherever that is. I don’t want to see them come on American soil.
Nelson also seemed to suggest that torture — or “enhanced techniques,” as he called it — could be used in the future:
NELSON: What we need to do is make sure that the intelligence information that’s gathered is accurate, that we do everything within our power to get good intelligence, and it may or may not consist of coming from enhanced techniques.
As ThinkProgress and others have pointed out, the United States is fully capable of housing terrorist suspects in American prisons. Indeed, this morning on ABC, Adm. Mike Mullen mentioned the dozens of terrorists in U.S. prisons and declared, “They don’t pose a threat.”
And if Nelson is truly concerned with getting “accurate” information and “good intelligence,” he should support President Obama’s unequivocal ban on so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. As military and intelligence experts have stated, over and over, Bush’s enhanced program derived unreliable and inaccurate information. It was the use of “enhanced techniques” that provided the “intelligence” of a link between Iraq and al Qaeda — intelligence that proved to be entirely false.
Read ThinkProgress’ report on why Bush’s enhanced interrogation program failed here.