February 3rd, 2010
03:43 PM ET
13 years ago

Holder defends decision on Christmas bomber

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."

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Filed under: Eric Holder • Homeland Security • Mitch McConnell • Terrorism
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. chill

    I know elephants are supposedly afraid of mice, but this is ridiculous. Surely we can prosecute a 22-year old Nigerian would-be terrorist within the law and our legal system. And maybe these run-off-at-the mouth legislators ought to let the professionals do their jobs before they screw something up. They could have messed up the family contacts and presure that has again yielded results.

    February 3, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I hope Holder does not give in to the anti constitution group that McConnell represents. You cannot please stupid people, so try this moron in a civilian court, just like the Bush administration did with the shoe bomber. We cannot let the republicans destroy our country further.

    February 3, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Holder is an idiot. This was an act of war, not just an average crime.
    It was a planned attack by a military group against citizens of the US and other nations. The guys lawyer will probably plead temporary insanity because he believed god wanted him to do it.

    February 3, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Marc

    "Some have argued that had AbdulMutallab been declared an enemy combatant, the government could have held him indefinitely without providing him access to an attorney. But the government's legal authority to do so is far from clear," Holder wrote.
    Actually is pretty clear.
    The government has NOT such legal authority, an enemy combatant HAS rights under all the treaties that the USA signed with other countries (Geneva Conventions for instance, and before anyone argues in contrary CHECK YOUR FACTS and you'll see that the USA SIGNED the Conventions) and the American LAWS.
    Plus the guy is not a Super-Human Being, he's (fortunately for all those that were on the same plane than him) a complete loser and idiot (besides being a crackpot) and will get along fine with the other inmates at a supermax facility that he will be sent to after the trial (supposing that he doesn't gets the Death Row).
    Fritz Duquesne went very fine with his own (NOT).

    February 3, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    Holder really doesn't have a clue. What will he do when the judge dismisses the charges because people in the Obama administration have prematurely convicted and sentenced him? These people running our country now are courting certain disaster.

    February 3, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Len (Colorado)

    I agree with Holder.

    Take the GOP to task. Politics as usual with the GOP.

    February 3, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. WoW

    Mr. Holder,

    With all due respect, you are wrong. This individual waged war on our country when he tried to bomb us on American soil. Why give him Miranda rights? Why give him access to an attorney? He is a war criminal. He is supposed to be tried in a military court as a war criminal. Stop trying to score political points by making yourself seem like you are doing the right thing by "caring" for this person. In fact, what you are doing is weakening our national security.

    Once again this person should be tried as a war criminal in a Military Court. End of story.

    February 3, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. JA/TN

    all can second guest this administration, while the the previous carried on like a drunken sailor with restraints, had you questioned Bush, America wouldn't be digging out of two wars, and a tanked economy, democrats and republicans are guilty

    February 3, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Chuck in CSG

    Holder is an idiot! This goon (Bloomer Bomber) is an enemy of the State and should be treated and tried accordingly.

    February 3, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. bob

    on this as on so many other issues, the Republican critics are simply flat out wrong. some national security issues (e.g., espionage, even during wartime) have long been successfully handled in civilian criminal settings. they can also be handled via other legal approaches. neither approach is inherently wrong for every situation. and neither is inherently right for every situation. each case has to be handled on its individual merits. what is imperative that whatever is done has to adhere to accepted standards of proper judicial process.

    February 3, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. joe

    This guy Holder is a left wing zealot who in the position he's in poses a national security risk for the country. Russia, China, et al have to be laughing at us that a foreign national who tried to kill 300 mostly American citizens is being treated with "kid gloves". This guy represents the epitomy of the Administration's weakness and it's on display to a dangerous world...

    February 3, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. RH

    Criticism of the way this guy's been treated is very telling. He's accused of a crime, so why shouldn't he be tried? This kid is obviously not a major player; he's a mule. The critics only want punishment for him, not justice.

    What say we follow our own rules ALL the time?

    February 3, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Scott, Tucson

    After Janet Napolitano and then that tax cheat running the IRS, Eric holder would be the next administration clown to get axed.

    February 3, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. SIMP

    Good for you Holder. I hope these stupid democrats that complaining about this get on board. It's such ashame how many democrats keep siding with the republicians, I hope all of you that keep running your mouths against this administration and their decisions lose your seats if you are up for re election, it wouldnt make any difference, you side with the republicians anyway clowns.

    February 3, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. all the news that's fit to omit

    You ARE A LIAR, Mrs Holder.

    NOBODY EVER questioned someone for 50 minutes and let the lawyer up, NOBODY.

    THE DEPARTMENT HEADS on Capital hill LAST WEEK SAID THEY WERE NOT TOLD, you wouldn't know about that because like Janet "The system worked" Napolitano, you had NO GUTS TO SHOW UP.

    Again Mrs Holder, YOU LIE.

    Now all of a sudden he is "talking again", great, we miss a month of comings and goings on and this is SUPPOSED TO BE A GOOD THING?

    Fresh information is the best information, ask ANYONE involved with the CIA.

    Raise your hand if you think this guy DIDN'T GET A PLEA DEAL to start talking NOW??????????

    Anyone, Bueller, Bueller?

    February 3, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Mandingo

    Do America a favor Holder and resign, you have single handedly evidenced how inept the Obama Administration is when it comes to dealing with terrorism and terrorists. How is that special tactical goon squad of interrogators going, find any office space yet?

    February 3, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Cliff

    This is very sad but what one would expect from your typical Obama apointee.
    How long will we endure the effects of such incompetent leadership?
    God, please help America...because our present leaders sure can't...and that includes Congress!!!

    February 3, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    And meanwhile weaken our defense vs. International terrorism in the process. Holder is a complete idiot!

    February 3, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Eimerd

    By awarding the criminals that act or try to act upon terrorist activities the status of enemy combatants we give them the status of a real army instead of the criminal group they belong to.
    Elevating their organization to legal enemy status will increase their appeal to the uneducated and hopeless youths they are trying to recruit. The republicans are playing into the hands of the terrorists.

    February 3, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Diane

    The "Christmas"/"Underwear" bomber should be tried in civilian court. Just think about it. When he is convicted, he'll go to a regular prison where he will face people who know he tried to blow up a plane in his "tighty whities". Would you want to face that crowd? I think not. What could be worse for someone like this fool? Civilian prison is the perfect place of these guys.

    February 3, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. christi

    Good for you Holder. I'm sick of the fear-mongering and blathering by republicans concerning trying the Christmas as an "enemy combatant." I did not hear ANY republican raising a stink concerning the many terrorists that the Bush administration tried in civil court. The civil court has a better record than the military tribunal in this regard. They are all sitting in a prison in Colorado, I think. Give it up and go on to something else to bitch about to the American people while doing nothing. I'm sick of hearing it.

    February 3, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Molly Weasley

    The recent FBI statements showed that their interrogation techniques yielded much more information than the torture used under Bush and Cheney. Holder made the right call. The U.S. is a nation of laws, and we need to follow them.

    I wish Republicans would stop helping the terrorists.

    February 3, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Robert

    The Republicans need to drop this one. People are sick of the hypocricy of it. They kept their obstructionist mouths shut when Bush and others used this route. They need to keep their mouths shut about it now.

    If they truly don't think this is the right path, let them speak up the next time a Republican president employs it.

    Until then, I for one, don't want to hear it.

    February 3, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. c spurgeon

    This is a good man. I do not neccessarily agree with the plan to hold trials in Manhattan but believe they should be regular trials but perhaps held in a prison or somethin to cut down on expense, security concerns etc. I frankly don't care if they take them out back and shoot them but defend this attorney Gen against political balogny attacks,

    February 3, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. southerncousin

    That is our inept and incompetent attorney general, who was of course appointed by an inept, incompetent absoutely stupid president, defending the indefensible by blaming Bush again. Americans are sick of it and these stupid people need to understand that. In the meantime George Soros and ACORN/SEIU are laughing all the way to the bank.

    February 3, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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