Congressman Leonard Boswell, a retired military officer, is among a handful of Democrats who joined Republicans this week in voting to give the Bush Administration the authority to try terror suspects in military tribunals.
“I think if I could have offered it completely, I would have made some differences, but you know we are in a different type of threat now than we’ve ever been in before,” Boswell says. While Boswell voted to give the Bush Administration the go-ahead on the courts issue, Boswell says he has raised concerns with the directors of the F-B-I and C-I-A about the kind of interrogation techniques being employed with terror suspects.
“I understand that we have to have the tools for them to do their job to protect Americans. That’s our first priority,” Boswell says. “But then I say ‘And’ with capitalization: And we have the responsibility to be very, very careful about protecting the constitution.”
Boswell says Congress is aware of its “horrendous responsibility” to protect the American people from future terror attacks, and that’s why he voted with Republicans to allow terror suspects to be tried in military courts where evidence and testimony rules are much different.
Tim Miller, a spokesman for Boswell’s Republican rival Jeff Lamberti, says Boswell is offering “inconsistent and confusing” statements on the issue and his vote with Republicans this week shows he’s “willing to say anything to get re-elected.”