OTR Interviews

Sen. Graham: I never want to hear the Benghazi attack suspect hear 'You have the right to remain silent'

Is a trial on US soil too good for Ahmed Abu Khattala? Can he lead investigators to other Benghazi suspects?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 18, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: An exploding controversy over what should happen to the Benghazi suspect when he finally does arrive in the United States. The Obama administration wants him to stand trial in a federal court. Senator Lindsey Graham says the administration is dead wrong about that. Senator Graham joins us. Nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Dead wrong about that?

GRAHAM: Beyond dead wrong. This is really the most ill-conceived idea coming out of an administration that seems to have no limits. Only ill- conceived ideas. Instead of a slow boat to New York, you ought to be on a fast train -- excuse me, a fast plane to Gitmo. Taking a guy to New York on a ship and when you dock, you read him his rights destroys the ability to gather intelligence. I never want this guy to hear you have the right to remain silent any time soon. I want him to talk. And under the law of war, putting people on ships is frowned upon. How would you like an American to be put on ships and driven around slowly? Actually, we're setting a precedent that undercuts the Geneva convention. This is a haphazard approach because they won't use Gitmo. We are actually bastardizing the law of war, setting a bad precedent.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.

GRAHAM: And this is a horrible idea.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Two things, one is the Obama administration says they have almost 100 percent conviction rate in situations like these?

GRAHAM: Who cares?


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm just telling you what they said. And secondly, by the time the boat gets here, will Gitmo be there? President Obama wants to get rid of Gitmo.

GRAHAM: Well, Gitmo is going nowhere any time soon. We are fighting a war not a crime. The guy didn't steal a car. I don't want a history lesson on Ansar al-Sharia. I would like to hold him for months, if not years, to find out what he knows about future attacks, how Benghazi unfolded. You are gathering intelligence to win a war. Obama is fighting a crime. I am trying to fight a war. This president's policies are coming home to lose (ph), withdrawing from Iraq, now Afghanistan failing to deal with Syria, and having detention interrogation policies that deny us the ability to gather intelligence, to keep this country safe. This guy is not a common criminal. He is he a terrorist.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, yes or no, Iraq is collapsing?


VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Is Afghanistan going to collapse as well?

GRAHAM: Just as sure as the sun rises in the east. If he we pull all of our troops out in 2016, the women that you talk about.

VAN SUSTEREN: The Taliban? Look, I don't understand, the United States.


GRAHAM: You talked to Hillary Clinton. You looked her in the eye and said she assured the women of Afghanistan, we will not abandon you. Well, to the women of Afghanistan, your worse nightmare is about to come true. This president's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to hurt women here. A safe haven from Syria to Iraq to launch the next 9/11. We no longer gather intelligence. We turn the war into a crime. Putting a guy on a ship is a dumb idea. He should be in Gitmo.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it mean we lost the war in Iraq and we are about to lose the war in Afghanistan?

GRAHAM: We are on the verge of losing the war in Iraq. We are certainly going to lose in Afghanistan if we withdraw our forces. Here's the good news, 10 or 15 thousand left behind in Afghanistan would hold the place together. It breaks my heart that we were in a good spot in Iraq. All it took was a residual force and some hand-holding. We disengaged politically. We withdrew our troops.


GRAHAM: Not yet, but it's very close. Afghanistan is next. And Pakistan has nuclear weapons. This president's foreign policy is making the world a much more dangerous place and we're far more likely to get attacked after Barack Obama became president than we were before.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you. Nice to see you, sir.

GRAHAM: Thank you.