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Eric Holder letter to Mitch McConnell 2-3-2010

Eric Holder letter to Mitch McConnell 2-3-2010

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Published by adamserwer
Attorney General Eric Holder responds to Senator Mitch McConnell over handling of Christmas bomber.
Attorney General Eric Holder responds to Senator Mitch McConnell over handling of Christmas bomber.

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Published by: adamserwer on Feb 03, 2010
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02/04/2010

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Wasbtngton,
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February3,2010TheHonorableMitchMcConnellUnitedStatesSenateWashington,D.C.20510
DearSenatorMcConnell:
IamwritinginreplytoyourletterofJanuary26,2010,inquiringaboutthedecisiontochargeUmarFaroukAbdulmutallabwithfederalcrimesinconnectionwiththeattemptedbombingofNorthwestAirlinesFlight253nearDetroitonDecember25,2009,ratherthandetaininghimunderthelawofwar.AnidenticalresponseisbeingsenttotheotherSenatorswhojoinedinyourletter.
ThedecisiontochargeMr.Abdulmutallabinfederalcourt,andthemethodsusedtointerrogatehim,arefullyconsistentwiththelong-establishedandpubliclyknownpoliciesandpracticesoftheDepartmentofJustice,theFBI,andtheUnitedStatesGovernmentasawhole,asimplementedformanyyearsbyAdministrationsofbothparties.Thosepoliciesandpractices,whichwerenotcriticizedwhenemployedbypreviousAdministrations,havebeenandremainextremelyeffectiveinprotectingnationalsecurity.Theyareamongthemanypowerfulweaponsthiscountrycanandshouldusetowinthewaragainstal-Qaeda.
Iamconfidentthat,asaresultofthehardworkoftheFBIandourcareerfederalprosecutors,wewillbeabletosuccessfullyprosecuteMr.Abdulmutallabunderthefederalcriminallaw.IamequallyconfidentthatthedecisiontoaddressMr.Abdulmutallab'sactionsthroughourcriminaljusticesystemhasnot,andwillnot,compromiseourabilitytoobtaininformationneededtodetectandpreventfutureattacks.Therearemanyexamplesofsuccessfulterrorisminvestigationsandprosecutions,bothbeforeandafterSeptember11,2001,inwhichbothoftheseimportantobjectiveshavebeenachieved--allinamannerconsistentwithourlawandournationalsecurityinterests.Mr.AbdulmutallabwasquestionedbyexperiencedcounterterrorismagentsfromtheFBIinthehoursimmediatelyafterthefailedbombingattemptandprovidedintelligence,andmorerecently,hehasprovidedadditionalintelligencetotheFBIthatweareactivelyusingtohelpprotectourcountry.Wewillcontinuetosharetheinformationwedevelopwithothersintheintelligencecommunityandactivelyfollowuponthatinformationaroundtheworld.
1.Detention.ImadethedecisiontochargeMr.Abdulmutallabwithfederalcrimes,andtoseekhisdetentioninconnectionwiththosecharges,withtheknowledgeof,andwithnoobjectionfrom,allotherrelevantdepartmentsofthegovernment.OntheeveningofDecember25andagainonthemorningofDecember26,theFBIinformedits
 
TheHonorableMitchMcConnellPage2partnersintheIntelligenceCommunitythatAbdulmutallabwouldbechargedcriminally,andnoagencyobjectedtothiscourseofaction.InthedaysfollowingDecember25
-
includingduringameetingwiththePresidentandotherseniormembersofhisnationalsecurityteamonJanuary5-high-leveldiscussionsensuedwithintheAdministrationinwhichthepossibilityofdetainingMr.Abdulmutallabunderthelawofwarwasexplicitly
.
discussed.NoagencysupportedtheuseoflawofwardetentionforAbdulmutallab,and
noagencyhassinceadvisedtheDepartmentofJusticethatanalternativecourseofactionshouldhavebeen,orshouldnowbe,pursued.SincetheSeptember11,2001attacks,thepracticeoftheU.S.government,followedbypriorandcurrentAdministrationswithoutasingleexception,hasbeentoarrestanddetainunderfederalcriminallawallterroristsuspectswhoareapprehendedinsidetheUnitedStates.ThepriorAdministrationadoptedpoliciesexpresslyendorsingthisapproach.UnderapolicydirectiveissuedbyPresidentBushin2003,forexample,"theAttorneyGeneralhasleadresponsibilityforcriminalinvestigationsofterroristactsorterroristthreatsbyindividualsorgroupsinsidetheUnitedStates,ordirectedatUnitedStatescitizensorinstitutionsabroad,wheresuchactsarewithintheFederalcriminaljurisdictionoftheUnitedStates,aswellasforrelatedintelligencecollectionactivitieswithintheUnitedStates."HomelandSecurityPresidentialDirective5(HSPD-5,February28,2003).Thedirectivegoesontoprovidethat"(fJollowingaterroristthreatoranactualincidentthatfallswithinthecriminaljurisdictionoftheUnitedStates,thefullcapabilitiesoftheUnitedStatesshallbededicated,consistentwithUnitedStateslawandwithactivitiesofotherFederaldepartmentsandagenciestoprotectournationalsecurity,toassistingtheAttorneyGeneraltoidentifytheperpetratorsandbringthemtojustice."Inkeepingwiththispolicy,theBushAdministrationusedthecriminaljusticesystemtoconvictmorethan300individualsonterrorism-relatedcharges.Forexample,RichardReid,aBritishcitizen,wasarrestedinDecember2001forattemptingtoigniteashoebombwhileonaflightfromParistoMiamicarrying184passengersand14crewmembers.Hewasadvisedofhisrighttoremainsilentandtoconsultwithanattorneywithinfiveminutesofbeingremovedfromtheaircraft(andwasreadorremindedoftheserightsatotaloffourtimeswithin48hours),pledguiltyinOctober2002,andisnowservingalifesentenceinfederalprison.In2003,IymanFaris,aU.S.citizenfromPakistan,pledguiltytoconspiracyandprovidingmaterialsupporttoal-QaedaforprovidingtheterroristorganizationwithinformationaboutpossibleU.S.targetsforattack.Amongotherthings,hewastaskedbyal-QaedaoperativesoverseastoassesstheBrooklynBridgeinNewYorkCityasapossiblepost-9111targetofdestruction.Afterinitiallyprovidingsignificantinformationandassistancetolawenforcementpersonnel,hewassentencedto20yearsinprison.In2002,the"LackawannaSix"werechargedwithconspiring,providing,andattemptingtoprovidematerialsupporttoal-Qaedabasedupontheirpre-9111traveltoAfghanistantotrainintheAlFarooqcampoperatedbyal-Qaeda.Theypledguilty,agreedtocooperate,andweresentencedtotermsrangingfromseventotenyearsinprison.Therearemanyother
examplesofsuccessfulterrorismprosecutions
-
rangingfromZacariasMoussaoui(convictedin2006inconnectionwiththe
9111
attacksandsentencedtolifeinprison)to
 
TheHonorableMitchMcConnellPage3
AhmedOmarAbuAli(convictedin2005ofconspiracytoassassinatethePresidentandotherchargesandsentencedtolifeinprison)toAhmedRessam(convictedin2001fortheMilleniumplottobombtheLosAngelesairportandsentencedto22years,asentencerecentlyreversedastoolenientandremandedforresentencing)
--
whichIamhappyto
provideuponrequest.
Infact,two(andonlytwo)personsapprehendedinthiscountryinrecenttimeshavebeenheldunderthelawofwar.JosePadillawasarrestedonafederalmaterialwitnesswarrantin2002,andwastransferredtolawofwarcustodyapproximatelyonemonthlater,afterhiscourt-appointedcounselmovedtovacatethewarrant.AliSalehKahlahAI-Marriwasalsoinitiallyarrestedonamaterialwitnesswarrantin2001,wasindictedonfederalcriminalcharges(unrelatedtoterrorism)in2002,andthentransferredtolawofwarcustodyapproximatelyeighteenmonthslater.Inbothofthesecases,thetransfertolawofwarcustodyraisedseriousstatutoryandconstitutionalquestionsinthecourtsconcerningthelawfulnessofthegovernment'sactionsandspawnedlengthylitigation.InMr.Padilla'scase,theUnitedStatesCourtofAppealsfortheSecondCircuitfoundthatthePresidentdidnothavetheauthoritytodetainhimunderthelawofwar.InMr.AI-Marri'scase,theUnitedStatesCourtofAppealsfortheFourthCircuitreversedapriorpaneldecisionandfoundinafractured
enbane
opinionthatthePresidentdidhaveauthoritytodetainMr.AlMarri,butthathehadnotbeenaffordedsufficientprocesstochallengehisdesignationasanenemycombatant.Ultimately,bothAI-Marri(in2009)andPadilla(in2006)werereturnedtolawenforcementcustody,convictedofterrorismchargesandsentencedtoprison.
WhenFlight253landedinDetroit,themenandwomenoftheFBIandtheDepartmentofJusticedidpreciselywhattheyaretrainedtodo,whattheirpoliciesrequirethemtodo,andwhatthisnationexpectsthemtodo.Inthefaceoftheemergency,theyactedquicklyanddecisivelytoensurethedetentionandincapacitationoftheindividualidentifiedasthewould-bebomber.TheydidsobyfollowingtheestablishedpracticeandpolicyofpriorandcurrentAdministrations,anddetainedMr.Abdulmutallabforviolationsoffederalcriminallaw.2.Interrogation.TheinterrogationofAbdulmutallabwashandledinaccordancewithFBIpolicythathasgovernedinterrogationofeverysuspectedterroristapprehendedintheUnitedStatesformanyyears.AcrossmanyAdministrations,bothbeforeandafter9111,theconsistent,well-known,lawful,andpublicly-statedpolicyoftheFBIhasbeentoprovide
Miranda
warningspriortoanycustodialinterrogationconductedinsidetheUnitedStates.TheFBI'scurrent
Miranda
policy,adoptedduringthepriorAdministration,Iprovidesexplicitlythat"[w]ithintheUnitedStates,
Miranda
warningsarerequiredtobegivenpriortocustodialinterviews....,,2Inbothterrorismandnon-
I
TheDomesticInvestigationsandOperationsGuide(DIOG)wasfinalizedonDecember16,2008.ItistheFBI'smanualimplementingtheAttorneyGeneral'sGuidelinesforDomesticFBIOperations,whichwereissuedbyAttorneyGeneralMukaseyonSeptember29,2008.2FBIpolicyalsoremindsagentsthat"[t]hewarningandwaiverofrightsisnotrequiredwhenquestionswhicharereasonablypromptedbyaconcernforpublicsafetyareasked.Forexample,ifAgentsmakean

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