- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Holder: Russian spies posed threat to U.S.
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON (AP) — While they passed along no U.S. secrets, the 10 Russian sleeper agents involved in the spy swap posed a potential threat to the United States and received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from Russia, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.
“Russia considered these people as very important to their intelligence-gathering activities,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday.
He defended the decision to allow the 10 to return to Russia in exchange for the release of four Russian prisoners accused of spying for the West because the swap presented “an opportunity to get back … four people in whom we have a great deal of interest.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, sidestepping the question of whether Russia’s espionage poses a threat to the United States, said the swap came amid improved relations between the two countries.
“The economic discussions that President (Dmitry) Medvedev and President Obama had just recently and the progress that we’ve made in reducing nuclear weapons — and hopefully we’ll get a treaty through the Senate this summer that will further reduce nuclear weapons — means our security is stronger and safer and our relationship is stronger,” Mr. Gibbs said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Mr. Holder also sought to erase concern over the fate of the children of the Russian agents, saying they all were allowed to return to Russia “consistent with their parents wishes” or, in the case of those who were adults or nearly adults, were allowed to make their own choices of where to live.
“The children have all been handled, I think, in an appropriate way,” he said.
On pending terrorism cases, Mr. Holder acknowledged “there’s a real question” as to whether a terrorist suspect such as self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed can face the death penalty if he were to plead guilty before a military commission.
Mr. Holder indicated he still favors bringing Mohammed and four alleged accomplices before civilian courts, but that has been met with opposition in Congress and elsewhere. He said no decision has been made on where the trials will be held or whether they would be civilian or military.
He said one roadblock is that Congress has yet to come up with the money for the trials. “The politicization of this issue when we’re dealing with ultimate national security issues is something that disturbs me a great deal,” Mr. Holder said.
Mr. Holder also said the closing of the Guantanamo detention camp has become more difficult “because there have been people who have changed their positions” and Congress hasn’t agreed to provide the money to relocate the detainees to an underused state prison in Illinois. He said other states have offered to take the prisoners, but he did not name any states.
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Sarah Palin's online channel hits snag as Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world