WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants two Iraqi terror suspects sent from his home state of Kentucky to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
"Get these men out of Kentucky," the Republican said in a floor speech Tuesday. "Send them to Guantanamo where they belong. Get these terrorists out of the civilian system and out of our back yards."
Two Iraqis, Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi, were arrested May 25 in Bowling Green, Ky., where they live, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reports.
Accused of conspiring to send missiles, guns and money to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, they have pleaded not guilty to 23 terrorism counts and are being held in jail.
"These men are foreign fighters, unlawful enemy combatants who should be treated as such," McConnell said.
The detainees now at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility were all caught overseas.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd countered: "We are prosecuting these two alleged terrorists in federal court because it is the most proven method for keeping our country safe. Every single suspected terrorist taken into custody on American soil -- before and after the Sept. 11 attacks -- has first been taken into custody by law enforcement, not the U.S. military.
"There have been hundreds of defendants convicted in our federal court system."