The Washington Times - February 3, 2010, 02:38PM

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, at a Wednesday Heritage Foundation talk roundly criticized the Obama administration’s response to terrorism during its first year in office. He also vowed to do “everything” possible to halt funding for a New York criminal trial of the 9/11 hijackers in the event the president tries to press ahead with one. 

“If this administration does not change its mind, we will do everything we can to deny them the funds to do it,” McConnell told a packed auditorium at Heritage. “That is my pledge.” 

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McConnell said he had asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to testify before Congress about the administration’s “complete mishandling” of and response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing but had not yet gotten a response.   

McConnell also criticized Obama and his allies’ insistence on treating terrorism as a criminal justice issue rather than an enemy combatant threat. 

“Have they forgotten that the first thing that KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] did when he was caught in 2003 was ask for a lawyer?” McConnell said. “Al Qaeda knows what it is doing.” 

The senator also railed against Obama’s executive order last July to shut down the highly effective CIA interrogation program. 

“The administration simply ended [the CIA program] without ever getting a final sign-off from the CIA,” McConnell said, later adding, “The only thing that kept the Christmas Day bomber from success was his own incompetence.” 

He repeatedly called Obama’s views on terrorism a “pre-9/11 mindset” and decried Holder’s inexplicably large role in so many terrorism-related matters.

“The closing of Guantanamo is being coordinated by Attorney General Holder,” he said, adding that Holder is also the chairman of the Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies and a co-chair of The Presidential Interagency Task Force on Controlled Unclassified Information.

“No wonder that time and time again we see a law-enforcement mentality” with regard to terrorism, McConnell said. “The attorney general should not be running the War on Terror.”