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Ashcroft: Trying terrorists in federal court jeopardizes U.S.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft said today that prosecuting terrorists in federal court in New York City rather than a military tribunal jeopardizes the safety of Americans.

In a press conference in Overland Park, Ashcroft, a former two-term Missouri governor and senator, said information coming out of a future trial could provide important intelligence to terrorists. Ashcroft was in Overland Park to help raise money for fellow Republican Todd Tiahrt's campaign for the U.S. Senate. Tiahrt of Wichita currently serves in the U.S. House from Kansas' 4th Congressional District.

He said the decision to try the suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center was President Obama's, not U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s alone.

"When the Defense Department has someone in detention … it takes the president's decision if it's to be changed from the Defense Department to the Justice Department," Ashcroft said. "The attorney general doesn't have the authority to order the secretary of defense around.”

Ashcroft said the decision puts New York at risk for future terrorist activity.

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