Stephen Hayes: Obama vs. Holder – The Weekly Standard


In an interview with 60 Minutes last spring, President Obama discussed the handling of captured terrorists and challenged those who claimed the “American system of justice was not up to the task of dealing with these terrorists.”

Obama said: “I fundamentally disagree with that. Now — do these folks deserve Miranda rights? Do they deserve to be treated like a shoplifter — down the block? Of course not.” President Obama ought to call Attorney General Eric Holder. In a five-page letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, Holder lays out in exhaustive detail exactly why these folks deserve Miranda rights and why his Justice Department will treat them like a shoplifter down the block.

Holder's letter responds to criticism of the Obama administration's handling of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber, from McConnell and other Republicans. Holder writes:

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. Those policies and practices, which were not criticized when employed by previous Administrations, have been and remain extremely effective in protecting national security. They are among the many powerful weapons this country can and should use to win the war against al-Qaeda.

I am confident that, as a result of the hard work of the FBI and our career federal prosecutors, we will be able to successfully prosecute Mr. Abdulmutallab under the federal criminal law. I am equally confident that the decision to address Mr. Abdulmutallab's actions through our criminal justice system has not, and will not, compromise our ability to obtain information needed to detect and prevent future attacks.

Nobody doubts that Abdulmutallab can be prosecuted. There were nearly three hundred people on the plane when he tried to blow it up. He lit himself on fire. Authories gathered his badly burned underpants and the components of the bomb. His prosecution was never seriously in question, which is precisely what makes the decision to Mirandize him quickly so outrageous.

via Obama vs. Holder.