Giuliani: Obama 'turned the corner' on terrorism
WASHINGTON — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Friday he believes President Barack Obama "turned the corner" on understanding the nature of terrorism when he publicly declared the U.S. at war.
But in a nationally broadcast interview, Giuliani also said he thinks the president has some distance to go. He said the administration must pursue the problem as if on a war footing and said it should treat detainees as enemy combatants, not criminal defendants who could enjoy the benefits of the civil court system.
Giuliani, mayor of New York when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, also criticized administration prosecutors for "cutting off" questioning of the Nigerian accused in connection with the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight into Detroit on Christmas Day.
"Why in God's name would you stop questioning a terrorist?," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"Why would you put an artificial time limit on how much time you would spend questioning a terrorist."
Giuliani was interviewed a day after Obama again acknowledged holes in the government's system for finding and intercepting people plotting attacks against the United States.
In the Christmas incident, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, was tackled by a passenger on board a packed U.S. jetliner as flames shot from his clothes. He has been in federal custody, and Giuliani, formerly a high-ranking Justice Department official, assailed the government's handling of the case.
"If we've done 30 hours of questioning, basically in that 30 hours, you get some valid information and you get some lies," he said. "It takes longer than 30 hours to debrief a terrorist. Why would you stop it? Particularly since the administration has created military courts. ... It seems to me we're going to be trying the most dangerous terrorists in the wrong place."
Giuliani called anew for Obama to reverse his decision to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, and said that Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have erred in deciding to put accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed on trial in federal court in New York City.
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