NYC truck attack kills 8, suspect detained
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is expressing his disappointment that a man accused of killing eight pedestrians in a terror-inspired attack in New York City isn’t being handled as an enemy combatant.
“It appears the Trump Administration is continuing the Obama policy of criminalizing the War on Terror by not declaring Sayfullo Saipov an enemy combatant,” Graham said in a statement Wednesday, after terror suspect Saipov was charged in a civilian federal court.
In the aftermath of the Halloween attack, Graham had called for the suspected truck driver to be held under the laws of war, without access to an attorney, so he could be questioned by U.S. intelligence about his possible ties to the Islamic State terror group.
Saipov was questioned by investigators from his hospital bed Wednesday, before being brought to court in a wheelchair for arraignment. He was shot by New York police in the aftermath of Tuesday’s attack.
“It’s ridiculous to believe that one day of interviews in a hospital tells us all we need to know about Saipov’s terrorist ties,” Graham said. “Now that he’s lawyered up, that will likely be the end of intelligence gathering except through plea bargaining.”
Graham’s comments suggest that, despite recent attempts to warm up to Trump, South Carolina’s senator still is willing to criticize the president when he disagrees with his actions.
“The Trump Administration missed an important opportunity to send a strong message to terrorists and make America safer,” Graham said. “This is a huge mistake. Very sad.”