“The irony of the underlying bill as it’s written is that someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is going to get basically a full military trial with all the bells and whistles. He’s gonna have counsel. He’s gonna be able to present evidence to rebut the government’s case…. I think we will convict him. And I think justice will be carried out.” —Senator Barack Obama, 2006, speaking in favor of a military trial for KSM.
“There are also those prisoners of war who we have captured and will capture in Afghanistan and other countries who will receive a trial of some sort. It is clear we need to try those suspects in a forum that achieves two primary goals—two goals, I might add, that may not conflict. First, the Government must have the power to use even the most sensitive classified evidence against these suspects without compromising national security in any way, shape, or form. In addition, those who commit acts of war against the United States, particularly those who have no color of citizenship, don’t deserve the same panoply of due process rights that American citizens receive. Should Osama bin Laden be captured alive—and I imagine most Americans hope he won’t be captured alive. But if he is, it is ludicrous to suggest he should be tried in a Federal court on Center Street in Lower Manhattan.” —Senator Chuck Schumer, November 2001, speaking against trying terrorists like OBL in a civilian court (and speaking ignorantly by calling detainees POWs). But eight years later, Schumer likes the idea of KSM going to Manhattan, and he likes the idea of a $75 million kicker of federal money for “extra security costs.”
“There are reasons why bringing this case in an Article III court when it comes to the admissibility of certain evidence is really the right way to go and really maximizes our chances of getting a successful outcome.” —Eric Holder, November 2009, discussing the “principle” of trying militant Islamists in civilian court with the mother of a 9/11 victim.
“If I was concerned about the forum not leading to a positive result or if I had a concern — a different concern, you know, we would perhaps be in a different place.” —Eric Holder, November 2009. Then he said it wasn’t about outcomes, then he said a “variety of factors” were involved in the decision process, and then he used the word “protocol” a lot. But not to worry, they won’t be show trials!
“Courts and commissions are both essential tools in our fight against terrorism . . . On the same day I sent these five defendants to federal court, I referred five others to be tried in military commissions. I am a prosecutor, and as a prosecutor, my top priority was simply to select the venue where the government will have the greatest opportunity to present the strongest case with the best law. . . . At the end of the day, it was clear to me that the venue in which we are most likely to obtain justice for the American people is a federal court.” —Eric Holder, November 2009, demonstrating yet again the tough time he’s having keeping his story straight.
“Failure is not an option. These are cases that have to be won. I don’t expect that we will have a contrary result.” —Eric Holder, November 2009. But if a contrary result does occur, Barry has his back…
“Let me repeat: I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture — like other prisoners of war — must be prevented from attacking us again.” —Barack Obama, May 2009. But not to worry, they won’t be show trials! Schumer has an excuse for mistakenly calling detainees POWs because he said it in November 2001 when Gitmo wasn’t yet open for business. Obama has no excuse.
“I don’t know. I’d have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I’ve made…” —Eric Holder, November 2009, trying to answer Senator Graham as to whether he knew of the existence of any cases in U.S. history where an enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court.
“I will consider that request.” —Eric Holder, November 2009, in response to Senator Grassley’s requests for a list of Justice Department lawyers who previously defended Gitmo detainees, as well as their present involvement and whether or not they recused themselves.
When you have a semi-coherent Attorney General, how can that not lead to semi-coherent policies? The man is out of his depth. Holder’s bumbling excuse-making in the wake of the Clinton pardons should have given Obama pause. Alas.