(CNN) – Barack Obama responded to the McCain campaign’s Tuesday attack that putting terrorists from Guantanamo Bay on trial is “a policy of delusion,” noting last week's Supreme Court ruling that detainees would have the right to challenge their detention.
“The reason we set up Guantanamo is because the administration wanted to set up a black hole where there was no accountability whatsoever,” said Obama, flying back to Washington Tuesday for some time off the campaign trail. “The Supreme Court has now said you can’t do that. And as a consequence, the whole purpose of Guantanamo is defeated.”
Obama has applauded the Supreme Court’s decision that those held at Guantanamo Bay should be put on trial and in an interview with ABC on Monday, pointed to the prosecution of the terrorists responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“If [the McCain campaign] wanted to have a serious conversation about it then they would know for example that the issue of Habeas Corpus is not designed to free prisoners,” Obama told reporters Tuesday. “What it’s designed to do is make sure that prisoners who are being held have at least one shot to say, “I’m being held wrongly.””
“We don’t have to treat them in the same way that we would treat a criminal suspect in the US,” Obama later added, “but we should abide by the Geneva Conventions.”
Obama accused the McCain camp of “fear-mongering” and argued that they haven’t offered up evidence that the country will be less secure as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
McCain didn’t comment on the back-and-forth at his only campaign event Tuesday, but his campaign sent around a statement from Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“Throughout this campaign, I have been very concerned that the Democrats want to take a step back to the failed policies that treated terrorism solely as a law enforcement matter rather than a clear and present danger,” Giuliani writes. “Barack Obama appears to believe that terrorists should be treated like criminals – a belief that underscores his fundamental lack of judgment regarding our national security and judgment necessary to protect the American people."