Also of interest are Cole’s statements on 9/11, which directly relate to the types of cases he potentially could be prosecuting. Before the one-year anniversary of September 11th, Cole chose to criticize then-Attorney General John Ashcroft for supporting military trials of foreign terrorists. In a 2001 Washington Post article, Cole criticized President Bush’s emergency actions after 9/11 as "contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution."
Speaking at an initial hearing, Judiciary Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., was frank with his opinion of Cole’s attitude towards terrorists.
“Your statements show an adherence to the failed pre-9/11 law enforcement approach to Islamic terrorism that focused on indictments rather than intelligence and individual suspects rather than the international terrorist networks,” he said.
Sessions also posed a hypothetical inquiry to Cole in his written questions: “If Osama bin Laden were captured tomorrow, would you personally favor trying him in a civilian criminal court?”
“I believe that such decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, based on all the relevant facts and circumstances available at the time of a suspect’s capture,” responded Cole.