Treat New York suspect as an enemy combatant, say some US lawmakers

WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Two senior U.S. lawmakers called on Wednesday for the suspect in the New York truck attack to be treated as an enemy combatant rather than a criminal suspect, a change in federal policy they said would make it easier to interrogate him.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain both said 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, should be held as an enemy combatant under the Law of War.

That would mean he would not be granted the right to remain silent or be represented by a lawyer, making it easier for him to be interrogated.

RELATED: A look at the New York attack

57 PHOTOS
Truck plows through New York City bike path in terror attack
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Truck plows through New York City bike path in terror attack
Police investigate a vehicle allegedly used in a ramming incident on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Parents pick up their children from Public School 89 near the scene where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
All media responding to the incident in Lower Manhattan are asked to meet DCPI reps at Chambers Street and Greenwich Street.

Photo: Martin Speechley/Office of the Deputy Commissioner Public Information (DCPI)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Emergency personal respond after reports of multiple people hit by a truck after it plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. According to reports up to six people may have been killed. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Police gather at the scene after reports of multiple people injured after a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 6 dead and 11 people have been injured. (Photo by Andy Kiss/Getty Images)
NYPD investigators are at the crime scene near a bike path in lower Manhattan in New York, NY, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A police dog checks out vehicles along the street after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Police block off the street after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: NYPD officers respond after reports of multiple people hit by a truck after it plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. According to reports up to six people may have been killed. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Parents pick up their children from a local school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A NYPD officer stands guard at a crime scene near a bike path where a body is covered with a white-sheet in lower Manhattan in New York, NY, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Police direct people away from the scene after reports of multiple people injured after a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 6 dead and 11 people have been injured. (Photo by Andy Kiss/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: NYPD officers respond after reports of multiple people hit by a truck after it plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. According to reports up to six people may have been killed. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Children are evacuated from a school as Emergency personal Respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: NYPD officers respond after reports of multiple people hit by a truck after it plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. According to reports up to six people may have been killed. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Police investigate a vehicle allegedly used in a ramming incident on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A Home Depot truck which struck down multiple people on a bike path, killing several and injuring numerous others is seen as New York city first responders are at the crime scene in lower Manhattan in New York, NY, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Parents pick up their children from P.S./I.S.-89 school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Parents pick up their children from P.S./I.S.-89 school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Parents pick up their children from P.S./I.S.-89 school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: A NYPD Officer blocks a street as emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Parents pick up their children from school near the scene where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officers secure an area following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017. A pickup driver killed eight people in New York on Tuesday, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians, before striking a school bus in what officials branded a 'cowardly act of terror.' Eleven others were seriously injured in the broad daylight assault and first deadly terror-related attack in America's financial and entertainment capital since the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the Twin Towers. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
An investigator walks past a crashed pickup truck following an incident in New York on October 31, 2017. A pickup driver killed eight people in New York on Tuesday, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians, before striking a school bus in what officials branded a 'cowardly act of terror.' Eleven others were seriously injured in the broad daylight assault and first deadly terror-related attack in America's financial and entertainment capital since the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda hijackings brought down the Twin Towers. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers on Chambers Street surround the rented Home Depot Inc. pick up truck used in a motorist attack on the West Side of Manhattan in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. A man in a rented pickup truck drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and mowed down people Tuesday, killing at least eight and injuring several others. Photographer: Tim Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Parents pick up their children from Public School 89 near the scene where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Police surround the area where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 6 dead and 15 people have been injured.(Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Authorities walk just outside the perimeter of the crime scene following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday when a suspect plowed a vehicle into a bike and pedestrian path in Lower Manhattan, and struck another vehicle on Halloween, police said. A suspect exited the vehicle holding up fake guns, before being shot by police and taken into custody, officers said. The motive was not immediately apparent. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Parents pick up their children from Public School 89 near the scene where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - OCTOBER 31 : Security forces cordon off the area after a man reportedly drove a pick up truck along a bike lane near the West Side Highway in New York City on October 31, 2017. Eight people were reportedly killed in the incident, at least 12 were injured. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Children are evacuated from a school as emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: SWAT members check for explosives under a car one block from the scene where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 6 dead and 15 people have been injured.(Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Parents pick up their children from Public School 89 near the scene where a truck plowed through a bike path in lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - OCTOBER 31 : Security forces cordon off the area after a man reportedly drove a pick up truck along a bike lane near the West Side Highway in New York City on October 31, 2017. Eight people were reportedly killed in the incident, at least 12 were injured. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: A NYPD Officer blocks a street as emergency personal respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - OCTOBER 31 : Security forces cordon off the area after a man reportedly drove a pick up truck along a bike lane near the West Side Highway in New York City on October 31, 2017. Eight people were reportedly killed in the incident, at least 12 were injured. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
New York Fire Department (NYFD) and New York Police Department (NYPD) vehicles sit parked on a blocked off street after a motorist attack on the West Side of Manhattan in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. A man in a rented pickup truck drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and mowed down people Tuesday, killing at least eight and injuring several others. Photographer: Tim Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A young girl reacts as police officers secure an area following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday after a vehicle plowed into a pedestrian and bike path in Lower Manhattan, police said. 'The vehicle struck multiple people on the path,' police tweeted. 'The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD.' / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - OCTOBER 31 : Security forces cordon off the area after a man reportedly drove a pick up truck along a bike lane near the West Side Highway in New York City on October 31, 2017. Eight people were reportedly killed in the incident, at least 12 were injured. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Police officers inspect a truck following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday when a suspect plowed a vehicle into a bike and pedestrian path in Lower Manhattan, and struck another vehicle on Halloween, police said. A suspect exited the vehicle holding up fake guns, before being shot by police and taken into custody, officers said. The motive was not immediately apparent. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Emergency personal respond to reports of possible shooting in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. According to reports up to eight people may have been killed. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
A bicycles lies inside the roped off crime scene following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday when a suspect plowed a vehicle into a bike and pedestrian path in Lower Manhattan, and struck another vehicle on Halloween, police said. A suspect exited the vehicle holding up fake guns, before being shot by police and taken into custody, officers said. The motive was not immediately apparent. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Police investigate a vehicle allegedly used in a ramming incident on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Police officers secure an area following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday after a vehicle plowed into a pedestrian and bike path in Lower Manhattan, police said. 'The vehicle struck multiple people on the path,' police tweeted. 'The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD.' / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers arrive at the scene following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Multiple people were hurt in downtown Manhattan, US media reported after police confirmed that they were responding to reports of a shooting. Police said they had mobilized to the scene in Lower Manhattan and that one person was in custody, giving no further details. / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch as police officers secure an area following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. Several people were killed and numerous others injured in New York on Tuesday after a vehicle plowed into a pedestrian and bike path in Lower Manhattan, police said. 'The vehicle struck multiple people on the path,' police tweeted. 'The vehicle continued south striking another vehicle. The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms & was shot by NYPD.' / AFP PHOTO / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
A pickup truck used in an attack sits on the intersection of West and Chambers Street in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 31 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31: Media gathers at West St. and Murray St. after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31: Police gather at Greenwich St. and Murray St. after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017 in New York City. Officials are reporting up to 8 dead and at least 15 people have been injured. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Parents pick up their children from P.S./I.S.-89 school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Parents pick up their children from P.S./I.S.-89 school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Parents pick up their children from P.S./I.S.-89 school after a shooting incident in New York City, U.S. October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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Hard-line U.S. lawmakers have made similar requests involving other attacks in recent years, including after the arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, accused of orchestrating the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

"In moments like this, it's important to gather intelligence, not to convict him in a court of law," Graham told a news conference.

Eight people were killed when a man drove a truck along a bicycle path in New York on Tuesday. Investigators said Saipov followed plans laid out by the militant Islamic State group and planned his attack weeks in advance. He was shot and arrested.

Graham said he had spoken to Republican President Donald Trump about the issue and, "I think he's inclined to be aggressive, at least I hope he is."

Trump said on Wednesday he would consider sending Saipov to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where the United States has housed foreign terrorism suspects for as long as 16 years, many without trial.

Graham said Trump should change the policy of former Democratic President Barack Obama, who allowed attack suspects to be tried in federal court.

Obama's predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, opened the Guantanamo center after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to house and try terrorism suspects in military tribunals.

RELATED: Victims of the NYC terror attack

9 PHOTOS
Victims of the NYC terror attack
See Gallery
Victims of the NYC terror attack

Ann-Laure Decadt, 31

Ann-Laurie, a mother of two from Belgium, was riding bicycles with her mom and two sisters along the West Side of Lower Manhattan when she was mowed down.

Photo Credit: Family handout

Darren Drake, 32

The 32-year-old New Jersey resident is remembered by his devastated parents as "the perfect son." 

Photo Credit: Facebook

Nicholas Cleves, 23

Nicholas, the only New York City resident to die in Tuesday's attack, is remembered by those who knew him as a "sweetheart" and a "warm and friendly" person.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Ariel Erlij, 48

Ariel was visiting NYC from Argentina with a group of friends to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.  

Photo Credit: Facebook

Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, 47

Alejandro was among the friends visiting with Ariel. Alejandro is pictured second from the left. 

Hernan Ferruci, 47

Hernan was also in town with the other 4 Argentinian victims.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Diego Angelini, 47

Diego was also visiting NYC from Argentina with his group of friends from High School.

Photo Credit: Facebook 

Hernán Diego Mendoza, 47

Mendoza was also accompanying his friends from Argentina on their trip to NYC. 

Photo Credit: Getty 

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But Obama sought to close the center, did not send prisoners there and sought to try suspects in criminal courts. Critics of Guantanamo say it violates American values to house prisoners without trial, and that Guantanamo has become a recruiting tool for anti-American extremists.

"I'm here to urge the president to reject the Obama approach to fighting the 'war on terror,'" Graham said.

In a statement, McCain said the Trump administration should inform Congress as soon as possible about how it planned to treat Saipov. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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