23 Senators press Pentagon chief on terror suspect

July 13, 2011 - 8:59 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty-three senators are pressing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on why a suspected Somali terrorist will be tried in a New York court and not the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Republican leaders and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are questioning the precedent for the Obama administration's decision. Their letter to Panetta asks whether the action goes against Congress' wishes.

U.S. officials said last week that the suspect was interrogated aboard a Navy warship for two months before he was sent to New York for trial on terrorism charges.

Among those signing the letter were Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter.