Why Holder must resign

By Peter King
New York Post
April 7, 2011
 

On Monday, as Attorney General Eric Holder stood at the podium at the Justice Department headquarters in Washington to announce that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 terrorists would be tried by military commissions at Guantanamo, he still insisted that he'd much prefer to try them in civilian courts.

The guy just doesn't get it -- and because he doesn't, he should resign forthwith.

Almost a year-and-a-half ago, when he announced at the same podium that he'd decided to try KSM and four of his co-conspirators in lower Manhattan, Holder did so with complete disregard for the security and day-to-day-activities of those who live, work and visit here.

He'd never discussed the security implications with New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He'd never consulted with the New York State Police. And he clearly never checked with the federal agency charged with securing federal buildings, whose director testified that the agency didn't have sufficient resources to secure the trials for more than two weeks.

It's one thing to make a terribly bad decision, which is what Holder did in November 2009. But it's quite another to make a good decision badly, which is exactly what he did this week.

Holder showed absolute disdain for Congress, New York and the will of the American people -- really, for anyone who disagrees with him. Declaring that he knows better than anyone, he continued to ignore the opposition of Americans and of their duly elected representatives, the US Congress, to the idea of a New York City trial.

He refused to acknowledge that it was indeed a Democratic-led Congress that, with my strong support, passed legislation to prevent the transfer of Guantanamo terrorists to the American mainland.

Exactly 507 days after his initial, terrible decision, he made clear, over and over and over again, that he stands by it.

If Holder feels so strongly that bringing the terrorists who killed more than 2,500 Americans to New York City for a civilian trial is, in fact, the morally correct decision, then he should do the honorable thing and resign. He should clear out his desk in Washington, pack his bags and, if he wants, go back to his old law firm, which represents so many terrorist defendants.

I am proud that I stood virtually alone among elected officials back in November 2009 in denouncing Holder's plan to hold the 9/11 trials in lower Manhattan as the "most irresponsible decision" ever made by any attorney general.

I knew the enormous security risks and financial costs this decision would impose upon New York. Having led a congressional delegation to Guantanamo, I also knew that KSM and his fellow 9/11 terrorists should be tried by military commissions at the state-of-the-art, military-run detention facility there.

I was glad on Monday to see Eric Holder finally announce a decision to do just that. Unfortunately, the attorney general doesn't even agree with his own, now correct, decision.

New York and America deserve better. It is time for Eric Holder to go.

Peter King, a Republican, represents Long Island in the US House.