Impeach Eric Holder

November 18, 2010

I warned last month that Eric Holder’s decision to try al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Ghailani in a civilian federal court was a mistake and that the government’s case was in deep jeopardy. Well, those chickens have come home to roost:

A New York City jury acquitted alleged Al Qaeda accomplice Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani of all major terrorism charges in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the first trial of a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner in civilian court.

The Tanzanian was convicted on just one count of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property and cleared of 276 counts of murder and attempted murder in the bombings that took 224 lives, including 12 Americans.

This is an incredible screw up that denies justice to the victims of those killed in the embassy bombings, and it was easily avoidable by using the military commission system set up by Congress for this very purpose. But Holder and Obama, with their hard-Left ideological axes to grind, had to “make a point” and show how they were different from that evil Bush adminstration.

I could go into a long rant here about the lousy situation the Holder and the administration have left us in through their incompetence, but Ed Morrissey beat me to the punch:

The administration is left with three choices in regards to Ghailani: announce that they will release him at the appointed date whenever his sentence ends, announce that they will hold him indefinitely without regard to the court’s ruling on the matter while referring the case back to a military commission despite his acquittals, or refuse to state which they will do and hope the issue falls to the next administration.  The first will mean that the US will knowingly release a master al-Qaeda terrorist with more than two hundred murders under his belt; the second will mean that the trial they staged was nothing but a sham.  And the third will be a cowardly dodge.

Such is the state in which Holder as Attorney General has left the US.  Either the US is so inept that it will eventually release a man who attacked two of its embassies abroad (which was an act of war by al-Qaeda) or that the DoJ may commit an impeachable act by knowingly submitting a defendant to double jeopardy, whether in this administration or a future administration.  By committing to the civilian criminal system and assigning judicial jurisdiction where it never belonged, those are the only options left.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

I’m already on record with my contempt for Attorney General Holder. If he had any sense of honor or even decency, he would resign immediately. If his boss had any sense of responsibility at all toward the duties of his office, he would fire Holder. Neither, I fear, is the case, for both are committed ideologues.

It falls, therefore, to the incoming Congress, to investigate the full range of AG Holder’s actions: not just the Ghailani trial, which is bad enough, but the department’s racially biased enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, its attempts to politically smear a sitting governor, the witch-hunt against CIA interrogators – all of it.

And, when the facts are laid bare, the House must bring articles of impeachment against Eric Holder and place him on trial before the Senate. Yes, I know a Democratic-controlled Senate would almost never convict him, but the exposure of his incompetence and misdeeds would almost certainly force him from office, regardless of a trial.

That would be a good thing for the Department of Justice and the nation as a whole.

LINKS: More from my blog-buddy, Sister Toldjah. Power Line discusses the failure option. Fausta is outraged.

UPDATE: From Big Peace, “They came within a hair’s breadth of losing the case entirely.” Jennifer Rubin calls it a debacle.


Obama and Holder strike again: terror trial botched

October 7, 2010

During his campaign for the presidency and after he took office, Barack Obama made a large point of arguing that the military commission system set up by Congress to try terrorists somehow violated our highest principles and moral values as a nation. It was garbage, of course, but it fed the fantasies of his leftist base. Then it got serious when the President’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda jihadists in New York City.

While the subsequent uproar stopped (for now) the trials of KSM and his comrades, one trial went on: that of Ahmed Ghailani, who has confessed to being the prime mover behind the deadly truck bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in the 1990s. Because of a question as to whether the confession was admissible under the rules of the US criminal court system, the Obama-Holder Justice Department decided to go through with a trial. “No problem,” they assured us. “We have a witness who makes this a slam-dunk case, proving the wisdom of our determination to treat terrorism as a criminal matter!”

Then the judge kicked out the witness.

Oops.

Now the trial is in deep jeopardy. Yes, the man who has confessed to killing hundreds of people in those bombings and who is a hero to jihadis around the world may just walk free. Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains the problem:

Clearly, however, the prosecutors in New York do not want the trial to devolve into theater over the CIA interrogation methods. Were the government to try to prove Ghailani’s statements to the FBI, defense lawyers would have latitude to summon the CIA interrogators. They would argue that the CIA’s earlier, rough tactics tainted Ghailani’s subsequent, seemingly voluntary confession. The Justice Department is determined to steer clear of that controversy, and of any criticism that it exploited Bush-era tactics, even indirectly. But there’s a trade-off: The jury won’t learn that Ghailani admitted to planning the bombing, buying the TNT, and being celebrated afterward as an al-Qaeda hero.

The Justice Department figured it could roll those dice because it has a witness, Hussein Abebe, who is prepared to testify that he sold Ghailani the TNT. Not so fast, say Ghailani’s lawyers. They argue that the government learned about Abebe only because of Ghailani’s confession. By their lights, having agreed not to use it, the government implicitly concedes that the confession is toxic; therefore, the argument goes, it is no more proper for prosecutors to call a witness discovered because of the confession than it would be to use the confession itself.

Prosecutors reply that there is a big difference between using admissions pried from a defendant under coercion and merely calling a witness. The government may inevitably have found the witness anyway. Moreover, even if the confession tipped the government off to Abebe’s existence, he is a volunteer, providing testimony of his own free will.

Read the whole thing.

Basically, the judge decided Abebe’s testimony was “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and thus inadmissible. This just shows what McCarthy and others, such as former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, argued was right: that the civilian court system is not set up to handle terrorism cases.

Unless they can come up with yet another “slam dunk” approach or get Ghailani to confess*, the administration may well be faced with the choice of letting a mass-murdering al Qaeda terrorist go, or throwing him back into the military commission system and looking even more ridiculous for it.

Great job, guys. What’s your next trick?

*(Fat chance of either happening. Ghailani is probably planning his vacation in Waziristan even now.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)