Stop the Ayotte Amendment and Support Fair Trials

October 20, 2011

Update: We did it — thanks to your calls, the Senate successfully defeated Senator Ayotte’s amendment to ban fair trials for terror suspects! But the fight isn’t over. Please continue to help fight against other legislation that would keep Guantanamo open.

Sentor Kelly Ayotte R-NH ©Alex Wong/Getty Images

A new and dangerous amendment has been put on the appropriations omnibus bill on the Senate floor today — and now’s the time to pick up the phone and urge your Senators to vote no. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has introduced an amendment to H.R. 2112 that would bar all federal trials for foreign terrorist suspects and goes further than any previous attempt to undermine the fight against terrorism.

If this amendment passes, it would be an unmitigated national security disaster, removing a keystone — federal trials — which serve to keep this country safe.

Federal trials have been one of the most successful tools to combat terrorism, and they have been used hundreds of times by previous US presidents, including George W. Bush. Federal trials have prosecuted more terror suspects than military commissions by a margin of over 500 to 5. The FBI, state and local police and other domestic agencies have been far more successful at thwarting terrorism than any other tool, and this amendment would threaten to effectively tie our hands behind our back.

The definition of character is to do the hard right, not the easy wrong. It’s a great punch line to say you are tough on terror and that we should just lock them all up and throw away the key. But if you can’t prosecute terror suspects then you can only hold them for the duration of the conflict — and then they get to walk free. Just think about all the terrorists we have prosecuted successfully in federal court, from Zacarias Moussaoui to Abdulmutallab, to Richard Reid and Ahmed Ghailani the embassy bomber — they are all in jail for the rest of their lives. We are all safer because the prosecutors, FBI and law enforcement officers, and border and customs officials put their lives on the line and serve everyday to keep terrorists off our streets and in jail.

Please call your Senators right now and urge them to oppose Senator Ayotte’s amendment 753 to H.R. 2112. The vote could come at any time, so be sure you make your voice heard today!