February 23rd, 2009
12:35 PM ET
5 years ago

Attorney General Holder touring Guantanamo prison facility

Attorney General Eric Holder is visiting the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Attorney General Eric Holder is visiting the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder and top aides are touring the U.S. military prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to help advance the administration's plans to empty the facility of detainees within one year.

Holder and a team of five others involved in the process of deciding what to do with the detainees arrived mid-morning and were immediately briefed by military officials, according to Holder's chief spokesman Matt Miller.

"He's being briefed on case histories and discussing the charges that were pending for detainees before the suspensions," Miller said. "He's touring all the buildings and the expeditionary legal complex which houses the military courtrooms," Miller said.

Holder is accompanied by Matthew Olsen, who is acting assistant attorney general for the National Security Division. Holder named Olsen Friday as the executive director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force which will recommend whether the 245 remaining detainees should be removed to other countries, be released, be tried on criminal charges in civilian courts in the United States or should be tried in before military courts.

Also traveling with the attorney general are his chief of staff Kevin Ohlsen and counselor Amy Jeffres, Associate Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, and Alan Liotta from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.


Holder is scheduled to arrive back in Washington late Monday night, and the Justice Department will have no further information on his trip for at least a day or two, it said. Miller said Holder is likely to discuss his trip with reporters later this week, but no earlier than Wednesday.

Aides said it was strictly coincidental that Holder arrived at Guantanamo Bay just hours after British officials removed suspected terrorist Binyam Mohamed from the facility and flew him to London on a British plane. Mohamed has claimed he was tortured while in U.S. custody.

Updated 12:35 p.m.


Filed under: Eric Holder • Guantanamo Bay
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. JC

    Lock him up and give him experience.

    February 23, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Give just one solid, intelligent answer as to why you cannot put one of these so called 'terrorists' in a federal supermax prison? Seriously. I think our worst criminals can take on a few little brown guys from the middle east. We're already paying for that useless reform anyways, might as well use it for what it is and save money on closing gitmo.

    February 23, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. mike

    He must be getting ideas for the one being built in Afghanistan.

    February 23, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Former Army

    Yes anyone can be considered a terrorist, that is if you are in Afghanistan and have an AK-47 on you or maybe some explosives.

    February 23, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. DOC

    Eric Holder's Justice Department stood up in court today and said that it would continue the Bush policy of invoking state secrets to hide the reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations committed by the American government. This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama's Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again. ("Justice Department Stands Behind Bush Secrecy in Extraordinary Rendition Case," American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release, February 9, 2009)

    February 23, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Together Each Accmplishes More

    Note: The Pentagon was soooo busy covering their behinds with a their unbiased report of how wonderful Gitmo was,,, that these arm-chair generals, resting on those same fat behinds, didn't have time to put a plan together so those on the stop-loss program could be getting their bonus money! The money was allocated in October and is just waiting for the Pentagon to get a plan!

    This is the same Pentagon who lied about Pat Tillman ... and who knows what else.

    Both Gitmo and Bonus Money left by an incompetent president to his successor ... notice no one is mentioning that they were wishing McCain/Palin were in charge right now!

    February 23, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Jeremy

    "They do not retain the same rights of those of us who live peacefully with each other"

    Apparently you know nothing about the entire criminal justice system or the purpose of the Constitution; which affords rights to EVERY ONE ...

    Seriously, the purpose of the Constitution was to separate ourselves from a cruel dictatorship and put in place rules by which the government follows to ensure the freedoms of the people. It is not meant to bias or selective. It doesn't say "These rights are only for good peaceful Americans who never do anything wrong."

    As for your last statement of "being patriotic." Perhaps that is your idea of patriotism; mine is upholding the principles that this nation was founded upon and not lowering my country's moral fiber to that of my enemy's. I believe that we must preserve the idea of America, or else our service men and women are fighting (and more importantly dying) in vain. The idea of America and what it stands for is far more important; because it is what can last through wars and pain and suffering. The Constitution has stood strong as the fabric of our country for over 200 years; and as long as we adhere to its purpose and to the ideals it represents the Constitution will see many more centuries.

    As for the Attorney General; his purpose is to determine the legality of Guatanamo Bay, and I hope he does precisely that.

    February 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Jacque Bauer

    Let's state the real truth here. Holder and the Obama administration are essentially cowards for not being able to stand up to their own looney left and DEFEND this country.

    February 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    close gitmo............and put them in Marion or Angola......the brothers will handle what Obummer does not have the guts for.............and then no more gitmo...no more terrorists...you're happy...I'm happy...........

    February 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    With respect to GItmo, its simple: we abandoned our ideals as a nation while the terrorists have never waivered in theirs. That's how you lose the ideological war. It's time we started standing by what we stand for.

    February 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. R in Maine

    Maybe Bush, Cheney, and Rove can be sent there and remain until they figure out how to close it.

    February 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Robert

    FROM WHERE DID THESE GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES GET WEAPONS AND BOMBS TO FIGHT AMERICAN TROOPS?

    SOME OF THESE DETAINES ARE NATIVES OF COUNTRIES, WHICH CAN’T EVEN MANUFACTURE A KNIFE, LEAVE ASIDE WEAPONS AND BOMBS.

    OBVIOUSLY RUSSIA AND/OR SOME OTHER ADVANCED COUNTRIES ARE SUPPLYING WEAPONS TO TALIBAN AND AL QUIDA TO FIGHT OUR TROOPS, JUST LIKE WE SUPPLIED WEAPONS TO TALIBAN IN THE 1980s TO FIGHT RUSSIAN TROOPS.

    WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP SUPPLY OF WEAPONS TO TERRORISTS BY INDUSTRIALLY ADVANCED COUNTRIES???????????

    February 23, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    Mari February 23rd, 2009 1:15 pm ET
    Its is disturbing to read the constant vile and hate spewed in the comments of the far-right on these blogs! What's DISTURBING is that the far-right claim to be Christians! What Bible are you reading?
    ------------–
    For you to ignore the hateful, venomous blogs from the liberal left and only focus on the right begs this statement to you: Why are you so hypocritical? Why are you so blind to the statements from the left and wide-eyed when it comes to the statements from the right. If it is wrong and hateful on the right, isn't it just as wrong and hateful from the left. I can't tell from your blog!

    February 23, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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