DOES THE MAN GET ANYTHING RIGHT? – AT 9:21 A.M. ET: No Cabinet officer has given President Obama more political grief than Attorney General Eric Holder, author of the brilliant plan to try the mastermind of 9-11 in a crowded neighborhood in New York City.
Now Holder has another problem. Apparently, his view of a confirmation hearing is, "You can ask, but I won't tell." From Fox News:
During his confirmation more than a year ago, Attorney General Eric Holder failed to notify lawmakers he had contributed to a legal brief dealing with the use of federal courts in fighting terrorism, the Justice Department acknowledged on Wednesday.
“The brief should have been disclosed as part of the confirmation process,” Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement. “In preparing thousands of pages for submission, it was unfortunately and inadvertently missed.”
How do you miss something like that? It's like missing the Hoover Dam.
Still, the “amicus brief,” filed with the Supreme Court in 2004, resonates years later as Holder finds himself defending the handling of some recent terrorism cases, particularly the interrogation of alleged “Christmas Day bomber” Umar F. Abdulmutallab.
The brief – filed by Holder, then a private attorney, former Attorney General Janet Reno and two other Clinton-era officials – argued that the President lacks authority to hold Jose Padilla, a U.S citizen declared an “enemy combatant,” indefinitely without charge.
In making their case, Holder and the others argued that using federal courts to fight terrorism, which includes providing Miranda rights to terror suspects, would not “impair” the government’s ability to obtain intelligence, which they called “the primary tool for preventing terrorist attacks.”
COMMENT: Had Holder disclosed the brief, he would have been questioned about it, probably in detail. We would have had a much clearer knowledge of how he intended to approach terrorism as attorney general. Instead, we got blindsided.
Holder continues to be a problem, but he is apparently a favorite of the president, so I wouldn't look for a change anytime soon. But we have a right to expect more disclosure, and more wisdom, from the nation's chief law enforcement officer.
March 11, 2010