Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution George Mason University

Dr. Susan Hirsch Quoted by Senator Richard Durbin on the Floor of the US Senate

November 5th, 2009

Transcript of Senator Durbin's Statement on the Floor of the US Senate:

In fact, there is precedent for convicting terrorists who were involved in the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the same attack in which Ahmed Ghailani was allegedly involved. In 2001, four men were sentenced to life without parole at the Federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, the same court in which Mr. Ghailani will be tried. To argue that we cannot successfully prosecute a terrorist in American courts is to ignore the truth and ignore history.

Susan Hirsch lost her husband in the Kenya Embassy bombing. She testified at the sentencing hearing for the four terrorists who were convicted in 2001. Mrs. Hirsch said she supports the Obama administration's decision to prosecute Ahmed Ghailani for that same bombing that took the life of her husband. She said, and I quote:

I am relieved we are finally moving forward. It is really, really important to me that anyone we have in custody accused of acts related to the deaths of my husband and others be held accountable for what they have done.

Mrs. Hirsch also said she believes it is safe to try Ahmed Ghailani in a Federal court. I quote her again: "I have some trust in the New York Police Department" based on her experience at the 2001 trial.

Listen to what she said about the critics of this administration: "They're just raising fear and alarm." This is from the widow of a terrorist bombing where the terrorists have been brought to justice in the courts of our land.
I agree with Susan Hirsch. I have faith in the New York Police Department. I have faith in our law enforcement agencies, I have faith in our courts, and I have faith in our system of justice.

We know how to prosecute terrorists, and we know how to hold them safely. We have living proof in 195 prosecutions since 9/11 and 350 convicted terrorists being held today in America's jails across the United States.

The Graham amendment is not about whether military commissions are superior to Federal courts. The amendment doesn't just express a preference for one over the other. The amendment expressly prohibits this administration and the Department of Justice from trying a terrorist in a Federal court.

(Congressional Record, November 5, 2009, page S11159)