- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. struck back Wednesday at critics of his decision to prosecute self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged cohorts in federal court saying many of those who opposed the move spoke “from a position of ignorance.”

The attorney general’s statements during an oversight hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee came on the same day President Obama said during a television interview in Asia that he is confident Mohammed will be convicted and executed.

Mr. Holder’s announcement last Friday that those allegedly responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that left nearly 3,000 dead would face trial in New York City sparked a crush of criticisms from conservatives, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

But Mr. Holder brushed aside concerns that the trials create a security risk, could reveal classified information to al-Qaeda and give Mohammed and others a public venue to spew Jihadist ideology.

“I have every confidence the world will see him for the coward he is,” Mr. Holder said. “I’m not scared of what KSM will have to say at trial - and no one else needs to be either.”

The attorney general took specific aims at criticism from Mr. Mukasey who told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show on Tuesday that Mr. Holder’s decision reflects a pre-9/11 mentality and reflects a lack of understanding that the nation is at war with terrorists. “I know we are at war with a vicious enemy who targets our soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan and our civilians on the streets here at home,” Mr. Holder said. “I have personally witnessed that somber fact in the faces of the families who have lost loved ones abroad, and I have seen it in the daily intelligence stream I review each day. Those who suggest otherwise are simply wrong.”

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