NEW YORK — Col. Michael Bumgarner, formerly the commander of the guard force at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, urged President Donald Trump to “immediately, within the next 24 hours” declare New York City terror attack suspect Sayfullo Saipov an enemy combatant and send him to the U.S. military prison at Gitmo.
Speaking in an interview with Breitbart Jerusalem, Bumgarner warned against reading Saipov his Miranda rights, and said that shipping him to Guantanamo Bay as an enemy combatant would allow for enhanced interrogation and send a strong message to other potential terrorists seeking to attack the U.S. domestically.
Trump himself voiced similar sentiments in remarks to reporters on Wednesday.
“If this attack had occurred in Syria it would have been very clear,” said Bumgarner. “It just happened to have occurred on our homeland. But he is at war with the United States and belongs in Guantanamo.”
Bumgarner served from April 2005 through June 2006 as commander of the Joint Detention Group, the guard force component of the Joint Task Force at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo.
“I absolutely believe that he should be taken to Guantanamo as an enemy combatant,” Bumgarner stated. “And I believe this is the mindset that America needs to take. That these individuals are truly at war with the United States. This is not a law enforcement issue.”
Bumgarner said that news media accounts seem to indicate that Saipov is talking to the police. But he pointed to fears that Saipov could have been part of a larger network and the ex-warden advocated for enhanced military interrogation.
“The prime reason (for shipping Saipov to Gitmo) is interrogation. There it would be more in the intelligence hands of the defense department and the other national intelligence agencies. As opposed to working within the law enforcement channels of the United States where the FBI would be the dominant collector and there it would have a different slant.”
Bumgarner opined that sending Saipov to Gitmo would also “serve as a deterrent and it would reinforce that America believes that we are on war footing with ISIS and those furthering this Islamic extremist viewpoint of war with the United States. This holy war that is being carried out against the United States and the West.”
Asked what advice he has for President Trump following Tuesday’s deadly terrorist attack, Bumgarner responded: “I would advise him to immediately, within the next 24 hours, put him (Saipov) on a plane and send him to Guantanamo. And raise that prisoner detainee count by one, for sure.”
On Wednesday, Trump was asked by reporters whether he would consider sending Saipov to Gitmo. “I would certainly consider that,” Trump said. He added, “Send him to Gitmo — I would certainly consider that, yes.”
Trump continued, “We also have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years. And at the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens.”
“We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now. Because what we have right now is a joke and it’s a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”
Asked about the comments, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders explained that Trump was “voicing his frustration with the lengthy process that often comes with a case like this.”
“That was simply the point he was making,” Sanders said.
However, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham both advocated for declaring Saipov an enemy combatant and sending the terror suspect to Gitmo.
“Take him to Guantanamo,” McCain told reporters. “He’s a terrorist and he should be kept there. And there’s no Miranda rights for somebody who kills Americans.”
Saipov “should not be read Miranda rights, as enemy combatants are not entitled to them,” McCain stated.
Graham took to Twitter and Fox News to make a similar case.
Now speaking with Fox News about why NYC terror suspect should be held as enemy combatant under the Law of War.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 1, 2017
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.