December 29th, 2009
09:43 AM ET
9 years ago

Ridge: Terror suspect doesn't deserve 'full range' of rights

(CNN) - The man who allegedly lit an explosive on board a U.S.-bound international flight deserves none of the constitutional protections afforded American citizens, a former top Bush administration official said Monday.

Tom Ridge, who served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005, made the comments on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"I take a look at this individual who has been charged criminally, does that mean he gets his Miranda warnings? The only information we get is if he volunteers it?" Ridge said. "He's not a citizen of this country. He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States."

Ridge also said he was "not surprised" about reports that two former detainees in the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had joined up with the group that claimed responsibility for Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab's failed terrorist attack.

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Filed under: Tom Ridge
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Threat Level DOPE

    In the same breath he acknowledges he created terrorists at Gitmo but can't wait to torture this guy. I would love to play poker w/ these neocons, they bite on every BLUFF. Ridge kind of has close set eyes, early phrenologists refered to that as meaning beneath human intelligence. he and W I bet have some real interesting discussions.

    December 29, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. WoW

    I agree 100% with Mr. Ridge.

    Britain rejects the suspect's visa. This bomber's father contacted the US Embassy himself and says his son might be up to something, you should watch him. What do we do? Nothing! The man's own father contacted our Embassy and we still did nothing. Britain did something, how come we couldn't?

    This man should have been put on a strict "no fly" list preventing him from flying in or to the US.

    This White House administration is too lax. I'm sorry, but it really is. All they are concerned about is saying yes to everything and trying to be nice to everyone in order to appease the public and lead them to believe they are helping, when rather they are hurting. Napolitano needs to resign, followed by our president in the next election. I'm sorry, but that is just the case. We have a large group of extremists that want to kill us, and yet we are not doing all we can. We are letting these people fly into the US, we are having their trials in the US, and we are moving them into US prisons. This is unacceptable.

    It appears we are not at the safest level of security under the Obama, Pelosi, Napolitano regime.

    December 29, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If they commit a crime against our country or citizens, what laws do you suggest that we try them under? At least with our rules and courts, we know that we can at least have a reasonable assumption of a fair trial.

    As for those that have returned to terrorism, I say that it is partly the fault of the country that took them in because they were to have "reformed them." Some people can't be changed. Those that can't be reformed into behaving like civilized people should be confronted (and possiblily killed if they resist).

    December 29, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. j

    Is this a nation of laws and rights or what? The Bush era left me believing this nation can't hold to it's stated principles. Our rights and privileges hold only so long as we defend them. Members of our government will seize any opportunity to take them away.

    The man that tried to blow up the plane is a terrorist and should be tried in a court of law but he should also have rights to an attorney and due process, etc. We can do this with respect for this individual's rights even while acknowledging that he wouldn't treat us in the same way. I believe it's called higher moral ground and we should show the world that we can follow our own laws and treat people accordingly. Be the change we want to see in the world.

    December 29, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Annie, Atlanta

    CNN, why do you give these guys a platform to knock the President? Why were republicans so outraged that the President didn't come out with a statement after this failed underpants bomber attack? Where was Bush's statement after Richard Reid's (the shoe bomber) failed attack? There wasn't one, darn it! Why do you keep touting the right wing's talking points as the only ones that matter? I'm sick of the double standard. I'm sick of news organizations that owe allegiance to corporate masters interested only in the bottom line. I'm sick of seeing republicans from the worst administration in our history given credence. We need independent news organizations that give us real news without the failed talking points.

    December 29, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Silence Dogoode

    Correct....any terrorist who is not a legal citizen of this country is not entitled to rights of U.S. citizens.. they are enemy comabatents...

    Obama has made a HUGE mistake in closing GITMO...we are going to see more attacks from former GITMO detainees and more prison violence as these Islamofacists infiltrate our prison system.

    December 29, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Donkey Party

    Those two former datainees were released by the Bush administration. How about clearing that up CNN, or does it go against your Right-leaning tendencies?

    December 29, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Jimmy James

    Obama already called him the "alleged attacker". Whats "alleged " here? We are falling back to a pre 9/11 mentality. These savages are constantly probing and testing our defenses and now they know we will treat them as criminals and not combatants. They declared War on us in 98. When are we going to treat them like combatants and stop with the appeasing and coddling? This guy wasn't profiled so not to offend him or his religion yet some old lady and child were most likely fully searched. He had all the warning signs ( one way ticket, cash, no luggage) and even had his father warning us. Racial Profiling works. It isn't 65yr old ladies attacking us, its Muslim men 18 to 50 yrs old. Political correctness will bring this country down.

    December 29, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. A. Goodwin

    This is exactly why the U.S. is better off without Ridge.

    Do I think AbdulMutallab is a total loser who deserves the harshest punishment we can give – ABSOLUTELY. But I totally disagree with Ridge that we should not allow AbdulMuttallab to go through our criminal justice system. When ridge says "the only infomraation we get if he volunteers it..." What do you want to do, Ridge – FORCE it out of him through torture?

    We are lucky that the bomb didn't go off...but to throw out our Constitution for the sake of one crazy man...I think not. He doesn't deserve much at this point, but a FAIR trial is the one thing we should give him along with all other detainees.

    Its sad when a person like Ridge comes out and basically says that Gitmo was a good thing and that we should torture. SAD. And frankly – it only makes terrorists more angry and gives them fuel to pursue more acts of terrorism.


    December 29, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. Ben in Texas

    So, Tom, don't you believe in our system of justice? Do you think our system can't handle this exotic terrorist suspect, AKA common criminal? Would you maybe like to change our system so that we just throw people in jail and let them rot, without a trial? Kind of like they do in the countries where these guys come from?

    So, Tom, you would like to see America become more like a third world country? Yeah, that would really make us a better country and really show how great America is and really put an end to terrorism.

    Tom, you're an idiot.

    December 29, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. munchmom

    You are SO right, Mr. Ridge!! None of these terrorists deserve to have any rights once they enter the US. They are not citizens, and have trampled on our freedoms once they enter our country. And I say the same about the Gitmo "detainees"....they are all terrorists, and deserve nothing but the severest of punishments. They have no rights, as far as I am concerned!

    December 29, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. DEM in HI

    When you start to exclude people from a set process, you are sliding down a dark path. We do not need more GOP Cheney style rhetoric about what to do. That is why the GOP lost, because they are the THUGs of the constitution. They have no morals or a spec of humanity.

    Put this terrorist on trial and let us show the world that our judicial system is able to give them a fair trial and convict them for what they are. Nuremberg showed the world that we will be fair and convict those guilty of crimes. Thank god today's GOP was not there representing us there. We would have water boarded all of them while we forget that we put Japanese war criminals to death for water boarding our POWs!

    December 29, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    Knowing the 'suspect' hid undetected explosives in his underwear, now we'll all have to drop our drawers to pass security.

    December 29, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Joshua College Station Texas

    You know, a lot of Republicans say this, and I just don't get it. Why don't non-Americans deserve the same rights that Americans do?

    It is true that our Constitution necessarily only can have scope over those who are born or live here in the U.S. or who in some other way enter into our legal system, and thus only can apply to a certain portion of the world's peoples. However, the PRINCIPLES of the Constitution, if we really believe them, should be applied to ANY individual that our law attempts to treat. The purpose of the Constitution was to claim that ALL people who are born into this world have basic rights relative to their governments, and to establish what those rights ought to be. Again, the laws of the Constitution, by principles of sovereignty of other nations, are only applicable to those within its reach, but there are many cases when these are not just Americans. Why would we create a separate code of law for those on the fringes? Why re-invent the wheel? The Constitution establishes the BASIC RIGHTS of human beings under a government. If legal decisions are to be made regarding a human being by the U. S. government, the Constitution, and not some other law, should be applied.

    December 29, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. eolufemi

    This video sounds a lot like the rhetoric the terrorists espoused in that captured US soldier video.

    December 29, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. LN

    What Tom Ridge and the rest of the Republicans fail to understand, time and time again, is that justice can't have shifting rules. Either you do your job by the book or don't. Either their are consequences for abuse of power, or you have vigilante and SLOPPY police work. Saying the laws only apply to some and not others opens up the entire system to law enforcement's "personal" interpretation. The law is the law. It has nothing to do with who it is being applied to. He also implies that we should again start torture? The entire abu graib fiasco happened precisely because the military weren't sure anymore what the rules of engagement were. Leadership led them to the slippery slope and we will never recover our reputation from that atrocity if we continue to listen to the likes of Ridge. This is the kind of "law" that exists in Iran as we are seeing in the news every day. We are better than that!

    December 29, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Poor Tom

    We dont think so either Tom,but we also think you dont deserve any rights after the lying you did for the American rightwing extremists.

    December 29, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. Jane

    What we need is President Bush. This would never, every have happened under his watch.

    December 29, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Jefe

    EDIT: I'm pretty sure they're not being given the "full range" of rights. Nobody has said they had to be read their miranda rights, or charged within 24 hours of their incarceration. Nobody said they're going to get phone priveliges or visitors while they are in prison.

    And for those who think we shouldn't detain them on U.S. Soil, I've got a News Flash for you: the Guantanamo Bay facility IS U.S. soil. So stop panicking, we're not releasing terrorists into the streets.

    December 29, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Democrats really don't care about you...

    The Obama administration is still planning on bringing as many terrorists to the US as possible. They will all live in IL and enjoy all the rights of an American citizen. Good work, Obama.

    December 29, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. joe kiloz

    Mr. Ridge, terrorists have all the rights afforded US citizens regardless of their stated intentions. Mr. Obama has grandfathered these rights to survive our elimination, just in case.

    December 29, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    Terrorist leaders were released by the Bush administration. Had these guys in custody and couldn't find enough evidence to bring them to trial. Bush's failures will continue to haunt us for years to come.

    December 29, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. unemployed by Obama

    Time to play the same game, show some balls Obama, dont treat this terroist as you treat the ones from Gitmo. This terroist deserves what he brought to America, death penalty.

    December 29, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Bev

    PLEASE find a way to get your job back Mr. Ridge-–and replace that idiot Napolitano.

    And, PLEASE resign Obama--and find a community somewhere to organize. And, please take Napolitano, Holder, Pelosi, Reid, Geitner, Dodd, Frank, etc., etc., ettc., with you when you leave.

    December 29, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Dave C

    All I can say is that I'm glad you are no longer the Secretary of Homeland Security.

    December 29, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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