Today’s Fox News Sunday panel looked at Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to hold terrorist trials in federal courts rather than military commissions. The discussion quickly shifted to Holder himself, and whether he should be fired. NPR’s Juan Williams argued that Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer were lobbing “unjustified” attacks on Holder since the Bush administration repeatedly tried terrorists in civilian courts.
Krauthammer then cited the case of the failed Christmas Day bombing by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, saying that the Obama administration should have assumed that he “has people who are working with him” because he’s Nigerian:
KRAUTHAMMER: You arrest a guy who’s got a bomb in his underpants. You know, it’s likely he didn’t do it at home in his kitchen. … The guy is Nigerian. You’ve got to assume — you have to assume that he has people who are working with him.
WILLIAMS: Because he’s a Nigerian?
KRAUTHAMMER: Why do you assume otherwise? It makes no sense at all. You capture a terrorist and in almost all of our plots there are groups of terrorists. [...]
WILLIAMS: We have made such progress in terms of breaking down al Qaeda and getting them in terms of the structure to malfunction that there are now more lone wolves now and it’s tougher to capture and know the extent of knowledge they have at any one moment. There was no evidence, on the face of it on that day, had come from an al Qaeda training camp.
When Williams asked whether Holder should be held “accountable for all intelligence failures, including intelligence failures by the British and everybody else who didn’t understand what Abdulmutallab was up to,” Kristol smirked and shrugged his shoulders. Watch it:
On Jan. 5, President Obama admitted that there were “human and systemic failures that almost cost nearly 300 lives” on Christmas Day. He added that it “was not a failure to collect intelligence; it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.” Unlike what Kristol was trying to argue, it was not solely the fault of “incompetence” by Holder.
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