By Jeremy Herb - 08/19/13 04:53 PM EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday that the United States should strike an American-born al Qaeda spokesman “without hesitation” after the militant urged attacks against U.S. ambassadors across the globe.
“The use of lethal force against American-citizen al-Qaeda leader Adam Gadahn is appropriate and should be utilized without hesitation,” Graham tweeted.
“Adam Gadahn is an American citizen who has aligned himself with Al-Qaeda. He should be considered an enemy combatant, not a common criminal,” he said. “Even though Adam Gadahn is an American citizen, he should BE subject to being killed or captured by our military and intelligence forces.”
Graham’s remarks weighed in on a long-running debate over whether the U.S. should use drone strikes to target American members of al Qaeda.
In May, Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the U.S. has killed four American citizens in drone attacks, including Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric and his 16-year-old son.
Graham, who later put his tweets into a press statement, was responding to a new video from Gadahn posted this weekend on Islamist militant websites, according to Reuters. In the video, Gadahn called for attacks against U.S. ambassadors, specifically the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein.
"These prizes have a great effect in instilling fear in the hearts of our cowardly enemies," Gadahn said in the video, according to SITE, a jihadist-monitoring group.
The FBI has long sought to arrest Gadhan, and the U.S. government has offered $1 million for assistance in capturing him.
If he is captured, Graham called for Gadahn to be held as an enemy combatant by the military, and not federal authorities.
“If captured, Gadahn should NOT be read his Miranda rights but held as an enemy combatant under the Law of War for intelligence gathering,” Graham tweeted.
Graham and other hawkish Republicans have pushed to require terror suspects to be detained by the military as enemy combatants. Democrats argue that the federal court system is fully capable of handling terrorism cases.