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January 21, 2010
No one in charge at Justice
Reporting in the Washington Examiner , Byron York notes the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Committee are zeroing in on the Attorney General's role in the inexplicable treatment of the underpants bomber:
All seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder seeking to learn who made the decision to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the accused Christmas Day terrorist bomber, as a criminal suspect rather than an enemy combatant.
The letter is signed by GOP Sens. Jeff Sessions, Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Jon Kyl, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Tom Coburn. The lawmakers were rattled by testimony yesterday before both the Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee by some of the nation's top law enforcement and anti-terrorism officials. All of those who testified -- FBI director Robert Mueller, National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano -- said they were not consulted about the decision to handle Abdulmutallab in the criminal courts.
The letter asks who made the decision as well as the basis for the decision. In addition, it asks Holder to answer "whether the administration has a protocol or policy in place for handling al Qaeda terrorists captured in the United States."
I don't see how Holder can avoid being severely damaged in this inquiry. Either he had no protocol in place in which case he was an exceedingly negligent executive or he did have one and it permitted the terrorist to be treated as a criminal, depriving us of potentially important national security information for some lamebrained notion of international justice, a notion not contained in an treaty nor warranted by common sense..