Holder on 9/11 Trial: 'We Need Not Cower'

AG defends decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 10:22 AM CST
Attorney General Eric Holder takes his seat on Capitol Hill prior to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Republicans grilled Eric Holder on Capitol Hill today, criticizing his decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court. But Holder offered a forceful rebuttal, saying, “We need not cower in the face of this enemy. Our institutions are strong and our people are ready.” He added that “failure is not an option.” Republicans fretted that intelligence secrets would be leaked, and that Mohammed was being given a platform to spout hate.

But Holder was unfazed, saying that the court could protect America’s secrets and that any rant from Mohammed would only make him look worse. “I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheik Mohammed has to say at trial—and no one else needs to be either.” Jeff Sessions complained that the decision was “dangerous” and unnecessary, accusing Holder of having a “pre-9/11 mentality.” Holder countered that the US should use all its might—civilian and military—to win the war on terror. President Obama, in two interviews aired today, also expressed confidence that Mohammed will be convicted and executed—before hastily adding that he wasn't prejudging the outcome of the trial.