- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Tuesday Osama bin Laden will never be taken alive by U.S. troops.

“We will be reading Miranda rights to a corpse of Osama bin Laden. He will never appear in an American courtroom,” Mr. Holder told a House panel. Mr. Holder later elaborated that the al Qaeda terrorist leader “will be killed by us or he will be killed by his own people.”

The remarks came as the attorney general was testifying about the Justice Department’s 2011 budget. Mr. Holder was defending the decisions he and President Obama have made to try some suspected terrorist detainees in civilian courts, while others will face trial in military commissions.

Rep. Frank Wolf, Virginia Republican, said the government may have set a precedent for giving bin Laden a forum in civilian courts after Mr. Holder decide to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in a civilian court.

During the hearing Mr. Holder said he wanted to clear up what he said were misconceptions about trials in civilian courts, including that defendants would be “coddled.”

“The question is, Are they being treated as murderers would be treated? And the answer to that is yes. They have the same rights as Charles Manson would have,” he said.

Bin Laden has been on the lam since soon after the Sept. 11 attacks. In December 2001, then-President George W. Bush said bin Laden was wanted “dead or alive,” but coalition forces have been unable to find him. Afghanistan and Pakistan officials have sparred over which country he is hiding in.

In a 2006 tape, bin Laden appeared to promise never to be taken alive, saying, “I have sworn to only live free.”