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Archive for the ‘Eric Holder’ Category

Holder: Bin Laden Made No Attempt To Surrender

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | May 4, 2011, 12:46PM

“There was no indication” that Osama bin Laden wanted to surrender to U.S. forces who killed him on Sunday night, Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Holder says Osama bin Laden killing was legal and justified.

“It was justified as an act of national self-defense,” Holder said. “If he had surrendered, attempted to surrender, I think we should obviously have accepted that, but there was no indication that he wanted to do that and therefore his killing was appropriate.”

In his address on Sunday night, President Barack Obama said that bin Laden was killed “after” a firefight at his compound in Pakistan. But senior administration officials spiced up the narrative a bit. John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, said at a televised press conference that bin Laden had used his wife as a human shield. But hours later, the administration walked back that account.

Since then, the White House has said that bin Laden did not have a gun but did say he was “resisting.”

“Resistance does not require a firearm,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters yesterday.

“Let me make something very clear, the operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful,” Holder said Wednesday. “He was the head of al Qaeda, an organization that had conducted the attacks of September 11. He admitted his involvement.”

CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an interview Tuesday that “the authority here was to kill bin Laden.”

“Obviously under the rules of engagement, if he in fact had thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn’t appear to be representing any kind of threat then they were to capture him,” Panetta said. “But they had full authority to kill him.”

SOURCE

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Holder On KSM Trial: ‘I Know This Case In A Way That Members Of Congress Do Not’

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | April 4, 2011, 4:15PM

Despite his announcement today [yesterday] that the trials of five alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators will be held in a military court, Attorney General Eric Holder is standing by his original decision to hold civilian trials for five alleged Sept. 11 conspirators in federal court and blames Congress for forcing his hand in sending them to the military system.

In a short 13-minute news conference at Justice Department headquarters on Monday, Holder came out forcefully in defense of his original decision in November 2009 to prosecute the alleged terrorists in federal court and said that he had “reluctantly” made the reversal of his original decision due to the “needless controversy” over the KSM trial and restrictions that Congress had placed on the executive branch.

Holder chastised members of Congress for setting up “unwise and unwarranted restrictions” on transferring Guantanamo detainees which could “undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

He said the trial decision had been “marked by needless controversy since the beginning” and that the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators “should never have been about settling ideological arguments or scoring political points.”

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years,” Holder said in his prepared remarks.

But in light of the restrictions imposed by Congress on transferring detainees to the U.S., Holder said the Justice Department had to “face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future. And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice.”

Asked by CNN’s Terry Frieden whether it was Holder’s belief that he “knows best and that there is just no room for the public’s view” on where a trial should be held, Holder said that he didn’t want to hold himself out as “omniscient” but said the “reality is though I know this case in a way that members of Congress do not.”

“I have looked at the files. I have spoken to the prosecutors. I know the tactical concerns that have to go into this decision,” said Holder.

“So do I know better than them? Yes. I respect their ability to disagree, but I think they should respect the fact this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function,” Holder said.

Despite the reversal, Holder said that the administration would continue to fight to get the restrictions on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees lifted.

“It is still our intention to close Guantanamo. It’s still our intention to lift those restrictions,” Holder told reporters.

The Justice Department also released the December 2009 indictment against KSM and his four co-conspirators, which had been under seal until it was withdrawn this week.

Nolle and Unsealing Order – 4-4-11

MORE HERE

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Crooks & Liars- By Heather Wednesday Jul 14, 2010 9:00am

Rachel Maddow reviews the case against six New Orleans police officers who are now finally facing federal charges for shooting unarmed citizens on the Danziger Brige in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It’s really sad that it has taken this long for the Justice Department to finally be doing something with this case. It’s long overdue. TPM has more.

DOJ Charges Six NOPD Officers Involved In Danziger Bridge Shooting:

The Justice Department has charged four New Orleans police officers with opening fire on unarmed civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina, killing two and wounding four. The DOJ has also charged them, and two other officers, with conspiracy relating to the resulting cover-up.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the charges in an afternoon press conference today, five years after the shootings on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

Four police officers — Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso — are being charged with civil rights violations in connection with the shootings. If convicted, they could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

The two others, Archie Kaufman and Gerard Dugue, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Kaufman and Dugue were the investigators in the original case, and are accused of falsifying reports and false prosecution.

Five other police officers and one civilian have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the cover-up. The four accused of the shooting had been charged with murder in connection with the incident, but the case was thrown out in 2008.

On Sept. 4, 2005, seven NOPD officers, including the four charged today in the shootings, rode to the Danziger Bridge after getting reports of officers under fire. There, they encountered a family on their way to the supermarket for supplies. For unknown reasons, the officers allegedly opened fire, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding others.

The officers then allegedly drove to the other side of the bridge, where they found another group of people and again opened fire. Ronald Madison, 40, who was mentally disabled, was shot in the back and killed.

Faulcon is the one who allegedly shot Madison, according to the indictment. Bowen is accused of kicking Madison as he lay on the ground dying.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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John Yoo

ACLU Sues Justice Department On Torture Report

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | January 25, 2010, 9:08AM

The ACLU filed suit Friday in a bid to force the Justice Department to release its internal report on torture.

The long-awaited report from the department’s Office of Professional Ethics considers whether DOJ lawyers like John Yoo broke ethics rules in writing the memos that approved torture.

In November, Attorney General Eric Holder testified that it would likely be out by the end of the month. At that time, the department said it was going through the normal review process.

In December, the ACLU had filed a FOIA request for the report.

ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said in a press release:

Under the Bush administration, the Office of Legal Counsel issued a series of memos intended to permit interrogators to use methods that the United States had previously described as war crimes. As a result of those memos, hundreds of prisoners were abused and tortured, and some were even killed during the course of interrogations. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing whether the authors of the memos violated ethical rules as well as the criminal laws, and in ensuring that those who wrote the memos, as well as those who authorized torture, are held accountable. The release of the ethics report is long overdue.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Ex-CIA directors urge Obama to drop abuse probe

AFP

WASHINGTON — Seven former CIA directors have called on US President Barack Obama to end a probe into claims the agency abused terror suspects, warning it will cause “serious damage” to intelligence operations.

The former intelligence chiefs, appointed by both Democrat and Republican presidents, in a letter to Obama called on him to end the Justice Department inquiry, warning it would make agents more reticent to act for fear of prosecution.

“This approach will seriously damage the willingness of many other intelligence officers to take risks to protect the country,” the group stated.

Warning of “endless criminal investigations,” the seven said allegations of detainee abuse had already been probed, with the supervision of federal prosecutors.

“Attorney General (Eric) Holder’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute,” the letter read.

The signatories warned that the investigation could jeopardize relations with other nations that had co-operated with investigations, on the proviso of secrecy.


Though not a signatory to the letter, current CIA Director Leon Panetta also opposed Holder’s investigation.

“I think the reason I felt the way I did is because I don’t believe there’s a basis there for any kind of additional action,” Panetta said.

“My concern is … that we don’t get trapped by the past. My feeling is ultimately, we’re going to be able to move on,” he told reporters this week after a speech in Michigan.

Is Leon Panetta up to the job?

I think not!

…………zzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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Doug Bandow, The Huffington Post, Aug 24, 2009

Buzz up!

Attorney General Eric Holder is appointing a special prosecutor to review CIA interrogations of terrorist suspects. However, the investigation shouldn’t stop at the agency. No one should be above the law, especially top policymakers.

Investigating Bush administration policies and officials is bound to be controversial. President George W. Bush and his aides undoubtedly did what they thought was right. However, much of it was wrong. The Iraq war was foolish and unnecessary.

Continues >>

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New York Times

By PETER BAKER, DAVID JOHNSTON and MARK MAZZETTI
Published: August 27, 2009

Leon E. Panetta, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tried to persuade Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, to drop plans to investigate the treatment of C.I.A. detainees.

Leon E. Panetta, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tried to persuade Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, to drop plans to investigate the treatment of C.I.A. detainees.

WASHINGTON — With the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama’s national security team.

The tension between the agencies complicates how the administration handles delicate national security issues, particularly the tracking and capturing of suspected terrorists overseas. It also may distract Mr. Obama, who is trying to move beyond the battles of the Bush years to focus on an ambitious domestic agenda, most notably health care legislation.

The strains became evident inside the administration in the past several weeks. In July, Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, tried to head off the investigation, administration officials said. He sent the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, Stephen W. Preston, to Justice to persuade aides to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to abandon any plans for an inquiry.

More.

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