Attorney General Eric Holder is so out of touch with Americans that it took him almost a year and a half to heed their cry not to try terrorists in civilian courts, Rep. Mike Rogers tells Newsmax.TV.
The Michigan Republican was referring to Holder’s announcement this week that the Obama administration finally has abandoned plans to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused terrorists in federal court in New York City. Instead, it will try prosecute them before military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as citizens had demanded.
Holder announced in 2009 that the trials would take place just blocks from ground zero, where al-Qaida terrorists crashed two passenger-filled jetliners into the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 people.
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Republicans and Democrats quickly objected to such civilian trials, and Congress passed legislation prohibiting the government from transferring prisoners from Cuba to the United States. Holder pointed to that move when announcing the change in policy, and he chastised members of Congress for involving themselves in prosecution matters.
“I find his positions troubling,” Rogers said. “He was opposed to the military tribunals and, of course, now that’s exactly where we are. He was opposed to keeping Guantanamo Bay, open and so was the president but the facts of reality have slapped them all in the face and they’re going to now keep Guantanamo Bay open as a real option for us.
“I was disturbed that he would take a shot at Congress the way he did when that is the will of the people. It passed in bipartisan support. . . . You need to connect with the American people, sir. You are not elected — you are in an appointed position, and we think we are a pretty good voice for the American people.”
Rogers said it always has been clear that the best place to stage a trial of such highprofile suspects is a location that is difficult for the “bad guys” to get to, while still providing due process. That location, he said, is Guantanamo Bay.
“Well, welcome to America,” Rogers quipped. “I think the majority will of the America people was not to have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed brought to New York City. New York City said they couldn’t handle it. The security costs alone were astronomical. It would have been a three-ring circus at best.”
Addressing another terror-related issue, Rogers said Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi cannot be allowed to remain in power.
Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also said, “The worst possible outcome for us is a Gadhafi who has some remnants of power, who we know is a state sponsor of terrorism.”
Nonetheless, he cautioned about plans to arm the rebels fighting the Gadhafi regime.
“We do know what unifies them is getting Gadhafi gone,” he said. “We don’t know what unifies them when he’s gone. I don’t want to be responsible for arming groups that will be in a civil war shooting at each other based on their tribal affiliations when Gadhafi is gone and I do believe Gadhafi will be gone at the end of the day.”
He noted that, although Gadhafi got “a little bit of religion” in 2003 out of fear of being next, he is an “absolute recidivist” who will slaughter his own people.
“That’s the Gadhafi we know and don’t trust,” he said. “And clearly when the rebels stood up and said we’re done with 42 years of totalitarianism and his first response was to start slaughtering his own people, clearly to me he has become the same person he was before he got any thought of doing the right thing because of the invasion in Iraq.”
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