Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder challenged his leading Republican critics Wednesday over the handling of the failed Christmas Day bomber, defending his decision to provide the suspect with Miranda warnings and charge him in a civilian court.
In identical letters to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans in Congress, Holder said he acted with the knowledge of all relevant government departments and agencies in deciding against treating suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab as an enemy combatant.
Holder also noted that similar past decisions on terrorism suspects by previous administrations of both parties received no criticism.
"The decision to charge Mr. AbdulMutallab in federal court, and the methods used to interrogate him, are fully consistent with the long-established and publicly known policies and practices of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the United States government as a whole, as implemented for many years by administrations of both parties," Holder's letter said.
"Those policies and practices, which were not criticized when employed by previous administrations, have been and remain extremely effective in protecting national security," the letter said. "They are among the many powerful weapons this country can and should use to win the war against al Qaeda."