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  • Morning Bell: When Did the American People Elect Eric Holder Commander in Chief?

    Following weeks of strong bipartisan criticism of their handling of terror trials and detainees, Attorney General Eric Holder released a letter yesterday defending the Obama administration’s criminal justice system approach to prosecuting the war against al-Qaeda. Defending his administration’s handling of the Flight 253 terrorist, Holder wrote: “I made the decision to charge Mr. Abdulmutallab with federal crimes, and to seek his detention in connection with those charges, wtih the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government.”

    First, this statement directly contradicts the sworn Congressional testimony of Director of National Intelligence Adm. Dennis Blair who, when asked by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) under oath if he had been consulted about how Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated, responded: “I was not consulted.” Under intense political pressure from the White House, Blair has since said his remarks were “misconstrued.” But his politically-pressured retraction was not made under oath. His initial statement was. At the very minimum, Congress must demand that both Holder and Blair testify under oath to settle this contradiction.

    But more importantly, both the personal pronouns and the underlying substance of Holder’s letter speaks volumes about this administration’s approach to protecting the American people. Holder wrote yesterday: “Neither advising Abdulmutallab of his Miranda rights nor granting him access to counsel prevents us from obtaining intelligence from him. On the contrary, history shows that the federal justice system is an extremely effective tool for gathering intelligence.” Holder appears to be arguing that reading suspects their Miranda rights is a great way to get them to talk. But as American University law professor Kenneth Anderson notes: “The point of offering suspects the Miranda warning and associated rights is not in order to persuade them to talk, but in order to make sure they know they don’t have to and, if they have much in the way of brains, won’t.”

    And, in the past, Holder himself has even acknowledged this. The Weekly Standard’s Stephen F. Hayes flags this exchange between CNN’s Paula Zahn and Holder about American Taliban John Walker Lindh from January 28, 2002. Zahn: “How much pressure should they put on this man to get information out of him as they interrogate him?” Holder replied: “Well, I mean, it’s hard to interrogate him at this point now that he has a lawyer and now that he is here in the United States. But to the extent that we can get information from him, I think we should.”

    Holder asserts throughout his letter, and in contradiction to his 2002 statement, that absolutely no intelligence was lost by treating Abdulmutallab like a common criminal. That is just not plausible. In a speech at The Heritage Foundation yesterday, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said: “The fact remains that all the intelligence he possessed concerning the locations, training techniques, and communications methods of Al Qaeda in Yemen is perishable. Yemeni forces needed that information on December 25th, not six weeks later. Meanwhile, the American people are left to wonder whether, in place of interrogations, their safety depends on terrorists having families who can persuade them to talk.”

    The criminal justice system can and should play a role in our nation’s fight against al Qaeda. But it should not dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch. Again, from McConnell yesterday: “No one denies that a balance must be struck between preserving civil liberties and protecting the homeland. No one wants to sacrifice one for the other. But in many cases, all that’s involved is a simple question of judgment. And when a judgment call has to be made, our priorities should be clear: keeping Americans safe should always win out, within the law.”

    And who should be making those judgment calls? The American people did not elect Eric Holder to balance the interests of national security and civil liberties. They elected Barack Obama to do that.

    10:52 AM UPDATE: The sentence, “But it should not dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch,” has been updated and is now correct.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Morning Bell: When Did the American People Elect Eric Holder Commander in Chief?

    1. velvethammer says:

      "And who should be making those judgment calls? The American people did not elect Eric Holder to balance the interests of national security and civil liberties. They elected Barack Obama to do that."

      Perhaps a more plausible explanation of how it went down is Holder acted upon directions straight from Obama himself. Now whether or not we ever get to the bottom of it is another thing all together. But the scenario playing out as I've theorized would not surprise me one iota.

    2. Blair, Franconia, NH says:

      We didn't. However, to hear Obama tell it, he's just a figurehead.

    3. Mary.... WI says:

      Too many chiefs/czars and a man, Barack Obama, that possibly/probably doesn't care enough about 1) the position of president ; and/or 2) the USA and the American people.

      Eric Holder should really be replaced but by whom?….more of the same arrogant mentality?

      These terrorists are NOT citizens of the USA! They have NO legal rights in this country except by the Geneva Convention rules. And just how many other countries follow that procedure book?

      This administration is pathetic to say the least. The country is slowly and painfully swirling down the drain.

    4. Rick74 says:

      You state: "The criminal justice system can and should play a role in our nation's fight against al Qaeda. But it should dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch."

      You certainly do not mean this. The criminal justice system should NOT be dictating war-time policies.

      Possibly an editorial hiccup?

    5. Mark Heil says:

      Shouldn't the line read…"The criminal justice system can and should play a role in our nation's fight against al Qaeda. But it should NOT dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch."

    6. Mike Elness, Manteca says:

      In the penultimate paragraph, the sentence "But it should dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch" should probably be "But it should _NOT_ dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch" (emphasis mine).

    7. Damian says:

      CAUGHT RED HANDED

      Congressional hearing reveals US intelligence agencies shielded Flight 253 bomber
      http://uruknet.com/index.php?p=m62888&hd=&amp
      CNN Airs Witness Testimony (Kurt Haskell) that ‘Well Dressed’ Indian accomplice helped Abdulmutallab board

      without passport
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAtK7FFDukQ

      The Truth About Flight 253

      by Kurt Haskell
      http://www.lewrockwell.com/pr/haskell-truth-fligh

    8. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Suggesting Eric Holder made the decision about how to treat the croch-bomber (on any other administrative decision) without the expressed knowledge and approval of Obama is completely absurd. Holder is falling on his sword (pushed by Obama) to keep the focuse off of Obama and his deliberate "plot" to continue to deceive the American people. We must understand that Obama (and his socialist lackeys) are not to be trusted. They are fighting for their ideology to "transfrom" this country into a European,socialist society. We are at war people, with our own government. The sooner we reconize this fact. the sooner we can win our nation back.

    9. S Scott, Missouri says:

      The former junior Senator from Illinois is still trying to use the tactic of voting "Present" in matters of State.

    10. Kristen Taylor, UT says:

      Great article –very insightful & informative.

      However, I've noticed that you folks need an editor, as there are often typos or missed words in Heritage's online articles.

      I.e. " The criminal justice system can and should play a role in our nation’s fight against al Qaeda. But it should dictate war-time policy for the entire Executive Branch. " The word NOT is quite important but missing betweeen "should dictate." It may be understood, but Heritage is too important & respected a voice to make silly errors like that.

      Overall, I thrive on information from the Heritage Foundation — you folks are literally fighting the good fight!!

    11. Tim, Virginia Beach says:

      It's amazing how one…realistically, on the whole….small security incident can bring into focus how inefficient and inadequate the controls in place within the current government are. I am not talking about security in the airport…that's a different issue. I am talking about a small time terrorist getting top level attention from the president's cabinet…personal attention, it would seem. Let's just bypass all the rules and constitutional structure while we are at it. You would think Eric Holder personally caught Osama bin Laden at Home Depot buying fertilizer and Blue Rhino propane tanks…"Hey, don't I know you from somewhere…?"

    12. Bob Veigel, Arlingto says:

      When they elected Obama.

    13. Charles N.Y. says:

      This Obama administration is a complete failure from the president on down. Eric Holder should be fired immediately along with the rest of the clowns. What are these idiots thinking? How are they going to protect this nation when they can't even figure out health care? They are an absolute disgrace. The terrorist are laughing at us as a nation. We are headed from the strongest to the weakest nation in the world under this administration. We will we be attacked again from Iran and our econmy will crash, that you can take to the bank if all of these bumbling fools in the White House don't step down and resign. This administration has proven they have no control or impact over Iran's determination to produce nuclear weapons. When are they going make these middle eastern murderers pay for what they are doing to not only us, but other countries as well. It is time to play hardball or get off the field.

    14. bigdave, ocala fl says:

      Oh come on now..Holder is just ANOTHER LIAR in the long list of liars in the Liar-in-chief's administration. They all lie, including the bum Axlerod and the "retard" Emanuel(who's Dr brother thinks treatment for older Americans is a waste of time and MONEY! He is another CZAR of Obama's!) Lets see, Moron Valerie Jarret says "thousands" of jobs created by O: then Gibbs says "1.5 million" created byO;then Axlerod says "2 mil"…all in the same DAY!!! Hey by tomorrow we shouild be at 0% unemployment! If you put a crown on a pig,he will just surround himself with a bunch of PIGS!!! Thanks you uneducated, braindead so-called voters!!! And the media is just another group of pigs gathered at the trough of lies…global warming anyone?

    15. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      I guess Obama didn't have internet on his surf board when he was on vacation. It appears to me Obama at first blew off the incident as a minor annoyance while he was vacationing then later realized the gravity of the situation. He is now in damage control mode spinning it anyway he can to get this monkey off his back. As the saying states “can’t fool all the people all the time.”

    16. Pingback: When Did The American People Elect Eric Holder Commander in Chief? « Defund & Disobey

    17. ROBERT 78 says:

      TOO MANY INDIANS CHIEFS AND ONE OBAMA CHIEF , THEREFORE TOO MANY AFRICANS CHIEFS AND ONE OBAMA PINHEAD !

    18. Pingback: Since When Is Eric Holder Commander in Chief? | NewsReal Blog

    19. Robert Ivy, Dawsonvi says:

      Executives with this short of a memory and inability to tell the truth, we don't have to worry about terrorist interrogation, or attacks. We are already in sad shape as a country to have representatives like those mentioned in this article.

      Where did we get these clowns? How did they get appointed to the positions they hold in this circus?

    20. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Eric Holder must be fired. He botched the underwear bomber case by Mirandizing him and then later claiming that the government got all the intelligence material they could have gotten from him. How did Holder know what the limit of the underwear bomber information concerning terrorism?

      Holder botched the 9/11 planner case by his decision to bring him in to NYC to face a criminal trial. That was the stupidest decision unless Holder wanted KSM to go free. The Presdient on down have already prejudiced the case by declaring the guilt and the consequent punishment.

      Obama is just a whisker away from generating enough cause for initiating impeachment.

    21. Pingback: Abdulmutallab Is Now Singing Like A Canary « An Angeleno’s View of the World

    22. Pingback: POLL: Who will Obama get rid of first - Politics and Other Controversies - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - Page 3 - City-Data Forum

    23. Pingback: When Did the American People Elect Eric Holder Commander in Chief? « A Nation ADrift-Why?

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