Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday said congressional efforts to prohibit the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for any purpose, including to stand trial, “would unwisely restrict” the government’s ability to prosecute terrorism suspects.
What he means is that it would be harder to get an acquittal if they are tried by Military Tribunal instead of in an American civilian courtroom like the terrorist who participated in the Cole and embassy bombings and was recently acquitted on 224 out of 225 charges in a New York City courtroom. See VIDEO below.
Washington Times–At a news conference and in separate letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Mr. Holder said the ban — contained in a 2011 year-end spending bill approved by the House on Wednesday — would “undermine” his ability to prosecute cases, “thereby taking away one of our most potent weapons in the fight against terrorism.”
“It would therefore be unwise and would set a dangerous precedent with serious implications for the impartial administration of justice for Congress to restrict the discretion of the executive branch to prosecute terrorists in these venues,” he said. “The exercise of prosecutorial discretion has always been and must remain an executive branch function.”
Mr. Holder said the ban “went well beyond existing law” and, in order to protect the American people as effectively as possible, “we must be in a position to use every lawful instrument of national power to ensure that terrorists are brought to justice and can no longer threaten American lives.” (In Holder/Obama terms, “bringing Muslim terrorists to justice means freeing them)
Current law allows the Justice Department to bring detainees to this country for trial as long as the department gives Congress 45 days’ notice of the transfer. The new congressional ban is included in a hastily approved year-end spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday by a 212-206 vote that blocks the administration from spending money on a replacement prison or any prisoner transfers.
If the measure becomes law, it would represent a major setback for President Obama, who in one of his first acts in office vowed to close the U.S. military prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.