Graham: Trump could send New York City suspect to Guantánamo

Graham: Trump could send New York City suspect to Guantánamo
© Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamProgressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema GOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Lindsey Graham: Dismissal of Wuhan lab leak theory cost Trump 2020 election MORE (R-S.C.) said Wednesday he is "pleased" President Trump is considering treating the suspect in Tuesday's Manhattan terror attack as an enemy combatant and that sending him to Guantánamo Bay is "certainly an option."

“I’m very pleased to hear that President Trump is considering holding Mr. Saipov as an enemy combatant," Graham said in a statement Wednesday about 29-year-old suspect Sayfullo Saipov.

"The President understands the difference between a terrorist and a common criminal. If an individual acts like a terrorist and says they’re a terrorist, they should be treated like a terrorist."


Graham said that Saipov could be held at the military prison if declared an enemy combatant.

“Based on the current evidence, it would be very appropriate to initially hold Mr. Saipov as a suspected enemy combatant to allow us to gather the best and most reliable intelligence regarding his activities," Graham continued.

“Mr. Saipov does not have to be transferred to GTMO, but that certainly is an option available to the Administration," he said. "My main goal is to gather as much reliable intelligence as quickly as possible. We are fighting a war – not a crime.”

His statement expanded on earlier remarks on Wednesday that suspected terrorists should not be treated like common criminal suspects.

“You’ll never convince me that the best way to gather intelligence in this war, which is now in our backyard, is to read somebody their Miranda rights telling them they have the right to remain silent,” Graham said at a press conference alongside Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Arizona AG Mark Brnovich launches Senate challenge to Mark Kelly Arizona Democrats launch voter outreach effort ahead of key Senate race MORE (R).

“I am 100 percent convinced if you criminalize this war, in the future you’re going to make America less safe.”

Trump on Wednesday said he was considering sending Saipov to Guantánamo Bay.

The Obama administration worked to reduce the number of detainees there but, during his campaign, Trump vowed to fill the prison with "bad dudes."