Holder Holding By a Thread

Mario Diaz

3/25/2010 12:01:00 AM - Mario Diaz

The United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice” scheduled for Tuesday was postponed until after the Easter break due to the signing of the health care legislation. The delay is a much needed break for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who desperately needs to regroup after a horrible performance in his last hearing. But the delay is not in the best interest of America. It is time for Holder to go.

Holder’s performance as United States Attorney General has left much to be desired. In the 14 months since he took office, Holder has looked more like someone who would have loved to lead a special investigation against the Bush administration than someone interested in being the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. He has gone from controversy to controversy, causing many to question his judgment and loose trust in his ability to direct the Department of Justice (DOJ).

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Holder’s actions even provoked seven former CIA directors from both sides of the aisle to caution him and the administration that his policies could “help al-Qaeda elude U.S. intelligence.”

His latest dubious move was revealed recently, although it related back to his confirmation hearings. It turns out that Holder “forgot” to disclose several crucial documents during the hearings, including a Supreme Court brief where Holder opposed the detention of dirty bomb terrorist Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant.

If your reaction is, “Come on!” you are not alone. Here is what Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) said at a Judiciary Committee meeting:

Yesterday, a Justice Department spokesman said that the briefs were ‘unfortunately and inadvertently’ left out of his submission to the committee. Really? Are we expected to believe that then-nominee Holder, with only a handful of Supreme Court briefs to his name, forgot about his role in one of this country’s most publicized terrorism cases? Or that he was not reminded about it when he later received our letter about recusals? That strains credulity.

As somebody who voted for Holder, and his promise to be ‘transparent’ and work cooperatively with the committee, I’m deeply disappointed.

That was well put by Sen. Kyl, but more than being disappointed, we should be outraged. That brief and that case have a direct correlation with Holder’s most questionable decision as attorney general — the decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other terrorists involved in the 9-11 plot in civilian court in New York City.

Holder’s stubborn insistence that terrorists be treated as common criminals defies rational explanation. And this report of omitted Supreme Court briefs takes it to another level. Remember, it has already been reported that at least nine Justice Department officials worked on behalf of alleged terrorists, and at least five others have recused themselves from certain cases because of their former law firms' work for terrorism suspects.

Several reports have surfaced that the White House and DOJ are backing down from trying alleged 9-11 terrorists in civilian court in New York. To make matters worse, they are trying to make a deal for it, much like they did with the recent passage of health care. They apparently want to obtain Republican support for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison because of the pressure they are feeling from left-wing groups for the President to deliver on his campaign promise.

For some reason, Holder just cannot be straightforward with the American people. In a recent hearing he was asked about reading Miranda rights to Osama bin Laden, and he could not bring himself to answer the question. We know his position is that we should read Miranda rights to suspected terrorists, so why not defend the position if that is what he believes?

But no. Instead, he decided to give a rather bizarre answer: “You are talking about a hypothetical that will never occur. We will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden. He will never appear in an American courtroom. … He will be killed by us, or he will be killed by his own people. …”

The careless comments, once again, prompted great criticism, including a rebuke by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, who said the military’s objective was to try to capture Osama bin Laden alive and “bring him to justice.”

Now, why couldn’t Holder say that?

It seems the mix of Holder’s political views with his legal ideology, and even his advocacy sentiments, cloud his judgment to such an extent that Americans have lost all trust in his abilities to protect America’s interests and keep us safe.

For our country’s sake, it’s time to cut the thread holding Holder at DOJ.