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Holder Says Administration Needs Flexibility in Handling Detainees
By David Baumann | March 7, 2022 5:43 pm

The federal government must retain the flexibility to use both military commissions and the federal courts to try prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday.

The Barack Obama administration, and Holder in particular, have come under fire for their handling of detainees at Guantanamo. Holder’s statement came as Obama announced that military tribunals will resume for detainees held at the prison.

Holder criticized members of Congress who he said are attempting to undermine the process by imposing restrictions on the Administration’s ability to try detainees. The Guantanamo issue is particularly sensitive for Holder, who was criticized in 2009 for his initial decision to try high-ranking al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City.

The White House has said it would consider using military commissions or other civilian courts for the prosecution. But Holder told a congressional committee last week that he hasn’t reached a decision on the venue for the prosecution.

The Obama administration has said it wants to close the prison at Guantanamo, but Holder told the congressional panel last week that he is not sure the prison will be closed by the end of the president’s first term.


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