April 29th, 2009
03:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Holder seeking help in relocating Guantanamo detainees

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/09/art.getty.holder.point.jpg caption="Holder did not indicate when and how the United States would release or criminally charge detainees on U.S. soil."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking in Berlin Wednesday night, appealed to European nations to accept some of the detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to help the Obama Administration close down the prison facility.

"I know that Europe did not open Guantanamo, and that in fact, a great many on this continent opposed it, Holder said in his address at the American Academy of Berlin. "To close Guantanamo, we must all make sacrifices and we must all be willing to make unpopular choices," Holder said.

"The United States is ready to do its part, and we hope that Europe will join us– not out of a sense of responsibility, but from a commitment to work with one of its oldest allies to confront one of the world's most pressing challenges," the Attorney General said.

Holder did not indicate when and how the United States would release or criminally charge detainees on U.S. soil.

Hours earlier, Holder told reporters that to date 30 of the remaining 241 Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to be released. U.S. officials have signalled they expect at least a few of the 17 Chinese Muslims held at the naval prison to be freed in the U.S.

In the Berlin speech, Holder was stinging in his criticism of the previous administration.

"Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us– a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law and a go-it-alone approach that alienated our allies, incited our adversaries and ultimately weakened our fight against terrorism," Holder declared.

Holder's decision to disclose the Administration's Guantanamo plans abroad is adding fuel to the partisan battles in Washington over whether Guantanamo should be closed at all, and whether the prisoners should be brought to the U.S. to be released or tried.

"It's ironic that the supposed 'most transparent' administration is providing information to foreign nations, while the American people are left in the dark," complained Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. Smith, the top-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, blasted Holder for both the substance and the location of his remarks.

"Releasing terrorists endangers American lives both here and abroad. The American people have a right to know how these decisions are being made; yet this Administration is sharing more information with foreign countries at overseas press conferences than with U.S. Members of Congress elected to represent the American people," Smith charged.

In his speech Wednesday, Holder did not mention an announcement by a judge in Spain to pursue an investigation of former Bush administration officials over the authorization of harsh interrogation techniques on detained terrorism suspects.

Asked about the matter at a morning meeting with reporters, Holder said he would not rule out cooperating with the Spanish magistrate, and said he would consider any requests from the court.

Filed under: Eric Holder • Guantanamo
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Jimmy the Greek

    Hey CNN... how about reporting on exactly how many other nations step-up to take these released prisoners.

    Oh wait... that number is ZERO. The world loves Obama because they know he is a puppet, who will bow (figuratively and literally) to other leaders, apologizes for his country, and disparages those (in America) who disagree with his policies.

    Honestly, if Texas succeeded from the union – I'd move there! Never have I been so ashamed of the President as I am these days.

    April 29, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Eric Holder should be developing a case against the Bush Administration for their various crimes.
    Eric Holder should be thinking about Spain's investigation of the Bush Administration and their prosecution of torture.

    April 29, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. JDM

    Wrong approach! We broke it, We own it, and We got to fix it!
    Holder has a weak delivery when speaking about any topic or subject given to him.
    I feel he is going to fumble the mission. Weak, just Weak!

    April 29, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Tim

    So what is Obama's solution for those who don't find a new home?

    April 29, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Ernie in LA

    He wants help? It's his job to plan this out. If he doesn't have two, he needs to grow another one. He can't blame it on Bush anymore.

    April 29, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Integrity

    You closed it, now you want to NOT ACCEPT responsibility for your actions. Just like HOLDER, OBAMA and THE DEMONCRATIC CONGRESS. You should have left it alone and QUIT MAKING AMERICA UNSAFE.

    April 29, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. seebofubar

    Hey Holder, what about in your living room. What type of ingrade would want tu turn these scum loose.

    April 29, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Awwwwwwww – poor baby. Can't find a home for his terrorists?

    April 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. arithmetic is liberal

    Not in my backyard...
    Pas dans mon arrière-cour...
    Nicht in meinem Hinterhof...
    No en mi patio trasero...
    Non nel mio cortile...

    I hope we don't hear this from Europe.

    April 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. WIlly Brown

    Put them in the White House and the democrat side of Congress Eric since you love them so much. Give them a pat on the rump while upi hug them and say, bad Bush,bad .

    April 29, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. ray ray

    Holder, like his boss, is a COWARD!

    Your Anti-American rant is the garbage found in sermons from Jeremiah Wright and ring of sedition.

    Never have I been so ashamed of my government than of THIS presidnet and his tax-cheating, American-Hating associates.

    April 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Patriot Guy

    Who wants these scum bags living in their neighborhoods? Show of hands.......anyone?

    April 29, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Raymond

    The next time an Islamic extremist group takes over a plane – I sincerely hope you're aboard, Mr Holder, ... to see how well your "appeasement" really works with our enemies.

    April 29, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. fella from Chicago

    Bring a "friend" home to the family, Eric. Make that sacrifice.

    April 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Quiet Conservative

    Why don't all those who feel these prisoners are not a threat, take them into their own neighborhoods. Hell, adopt them if you want to. I for one don't want them in mine...

    P.S. I am all for "enhanced interrogations" if it keeps my children and loved ones safe.

    April 29, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Lawrence in Denver

    Why don't we just round them up in some old C-130's that we are de-commissioning, crash them into the ocean just off the coast of florida. It would create a new barrier reef, with a food supply and rid us of all those terrorists. Problem solved.

    April 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. mike

    Just send them to the new prison camp opening up in Afghanistan.

    April 29, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Karen S Crow

    Mr Holder,. with all due respect, if you shut it down, then move them in next to YOUR family and friends. I want NO part of them and I certainly do NOT want them anywhere NEAR my family!

    Harsh .. mean .. nasty?? Yep! And as long as it keeps those "detainees" away from my famliy ... I'm just fine with it.

    April 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. joe smith

    you know, those people worried about the nuclear pac orchestrated by the previous administration, not getting signed on, because of a human rights issue, with a half brother of a promenant Emerite, are forgetting Gitmo.. this should be a moot issue, and the President should sign it..

    April 29, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |