Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sessions: Holder's statement contradicts testimony of Blair, Napolitano and Leiter

In a letter to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that the FBI informed its partners in the intelligence community on Christmas Day that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would be treated as a criminal defendant, and not an enemy combatant.

The decision was made "with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of government," Holder asserted.

However, as I noted yesterday, this statement contradicts the testimony of three Intelligence heads who told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that they were not consulted on the matter. [See previous post and the embedded video]

During today’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions raised this very same point:
“The Attorney General’s response was disappointing to me, for a lot of reasons. Although Attorney General Holder admitted he made the decision to treat the Christmas Day bomber as a civilian criminal, he also made the remarkable claim that his decision was made “with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government"."

"This statement stands in stark contrast to the testimony of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, all of whom said they were not consulted on the decision. And in fact, it does appear from the letter, if you read it carefully, that the decision was made before they were notified. It had already been made and a lawyer had already been appointed and he’d clammed up..."
Sen. Sessions went on to cite various inconsistencies [and prevarications] in Holder's letter, including the following:
“[Holder] cites how Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was charged in the civilian criminal system, but fails to acknowledge that there was no military commission system in place at the time of his arrest in December 2001. The military commission system wasn’t brought under congressional authorization until 2006, when we passed legislation to do that."
Click here to read the full excerpt of Sessions' remarks as posted on his website.

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