Monday, June 14, 2010

Deputy AG nominee, James Cole, a former defense attorney for Saudi terrorism financier, likens terrorists attacks to Domestic Crimes of Murder, Rape

It should come as no big surprise that President Obama nominated James Cole to be Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Cole, after all, shares the President's view that terrorists should be treated as ordinary criminals rather than enemy combatants.

It should also be noted that Mr. Cole, as defense attorney at the law firm of Bryan Cave, represented Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, who'd been involved in financing terrorists [aka Al Qaeda].

Oh, I forget to mention that Mr. Cole had been hired by the DOJ and SEC to work as an independent consultant to monitor business [investment] practices at now-bailed-out AIG. On the same day that the President nominated Mr. Cole to be Deputy AG, the Department of Justice closed its two-year investigation of several AIG executives and exonerated them of all criminal wrongdoing. More on that at the end of this post:

From CNS News:
Despite a resolution by Congress authorizing war against those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Obama’s nominee to be the number two official at the Justice Department, James Cole, wrote an op-ed in 2002 likening the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to the domestic crimes of murder, rape and child abuse, while arguing that the attackers ought to be treated like domestic criminals.

“But the attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war--he is a prosecutor fighting crime,” Cole wrote in a Sept. 9, 2002 article in Legal Times that critiqued the way then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft was handling the 9/11 case.

“For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City...,” said Cole. “The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.

“Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime, including the scourge of the drug trade, the reign of organized crime, and countless acts of rape, child abuse, and murder. The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things,” Cole wrote in his op-ed...
Read the rest.

James Cole is a personal friend of Attorney General Eric Holder and is currently a defense attorney at Bryan Cave. Mr. Cole served as a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Division during the Clinton administration while Holder was serving as Deputy Attorney General:

From The Hill:
“Jim is going to be a great deputy attorney general,” Holder said during a news conference to discuss a recent drug bust. “I’ve known him for a good number of years; we worked together a long time ago in [Justice’s] Public Integrity Section. To have him on board in aconfirmed position, in confirmed status, is extremely important to the running of the Justice Department.”

Republicans likely will grill Cole about his representation of Saudi Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud after insurance carriers and Sept. 11 survivors tried to sue him and others after allegations surfaced that they had been involved in financing terrorists.

Editor's Note: Prince Naif ran the Al Haramain Foundation, a Saudi charity designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a facilitator of terrorism, which diverted charitable funds to Al Qaeda both before and after Sept.11, 2001.

As the second-highest official at Justice, Cole would... likely play a key role in decisions involving terrorist prosecutions.... Republicans have blasted Holder for reading the failed Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights just hours after ascertaining him and beginning to question him...
The AIG Connection:

From Main Justice:
When Deputy Attorney General nominee James Cole appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing, Republicans plan to question him on his work monitoring insurance giant American International Group (AIG)...

Cole’s firm earned fees of about $20 million for its work as a compliance monitor [at AIG], according to The Wall Street Journal. Some of the transactions Cole examined had been structured by AIG’s Financial Products group, the same unit that would later write billions of dollars worth of credit default swaps that almost destroyed the company and forced the government into a costly rescue deal fearing the potential damage to the overall economy.

As a monitor, Cole regularly attended AIG Board of Directors committee meetings, including at least two February 2008 meetings where board members were told of findings of “material weakness” in the company’s accounting systems that were uncovered by auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the Journal reported.

A Bryan Cave representative declined to comment on Cole. Calls to Cole were referred to the White House. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.
From Whistle-Blower:
On May 21st, the White House nominated James Cole of Bryan Cave, LLP for the position of Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Cole was the Independent Consultant at AIG in the years leading up to the September ’08 bailout there.

On the same afternoon, the Department of Justice closed its two-year investigation of Joseph Cassano, Andrew Forster, and Thomas Athan of the London-based Financial Products Unit of AIG and informed them that they would not face criminal charges.

Cassano was the CEO at AIG-FP, Forster was the head trader and executive vice president and Athan was a managing director. None of them will be the subject of criminal prosecution, according to the Washington Post.

So, just about two years after AIG nearly runs the international economic system over a cliff, the Justice Department decides there was no criminal wrongdoing and the former AIG monitor is selected to run the day-to-day operations of the Justice Department...
Conclusion: Taking all of the above into consideration, it is perfectly understandable why President Obama chose Mr. Cole to be Deputy Attorney General. In the post 9/11 era, Mr. Cole would seem to be the perfect man for the job. It goes without saying that he will serve this country well.