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... it's not really about the information that you get from special interrogations, which is a nice way of saying torture. It is also not about what rights he deserves. What is really the question is what rights we have to give people to maintain our credibility around the world.
That is, the way the world viewed the Bush administration was that, well, George Bush often looked almost Caesar-like, sending some people to federal courts, some people to military tribunal. Some people got no trial at all.
In this case, we had Richard Reid, who was virtually identical in his act. He went to federal court. Zacarias Moussaoui went to federal court. And I think that it's a problem if we treat a legal system as sort of improvisational, that we simply go by case by case of what we feel someone should have in terms of rights.
The credibility of a legal system is its consistency. Without consistency, it lacks coherence. And I think what Mr. Ridge is saying that, when we really don't like you or we think that we might get some information out of you, then we won't give you the rights under our system.
And that creates the type of anger and, frankly, the view of hypocrisy that the United States has faced. But I think it's very unlikely. A military tribunal doesn't -- doesn't generate intelligence. It's not a way to generate any more intelligence than a federal trial is. ...
I think part of the problem is that we're also dealing with people who have never been given a trial. And we no that many of the people in Guantanamo Bay were not terrorists. At one time, we were offering thousands of dollars for anyone that could give us someone they said was a terrorist, and many of them ended up at Guantanamo Bay.
And so we need to be cognizant of the fact that a nation like ours can't hold people without a trial and retain our credibility. So, if we don't want to give them to Yemen -- there might be good reasons not to -- then we have got to try them. If we have evidence against them, then we need to try them, but we can't leave them in this place that no rights can penetrate.