This morning, the House Oversight and Reform Committee is Examining the Justice Department’s Response to the IRS Targeting Scandal. (Live video at the link.)
The witness is The Honorable James M. Cole, the Deputy Attorney General. Cole is refusing to answer questions about the investigation, giving the standard answer that he can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.
*Republicans held up Cole’s appointment back in 2010 because he is the lawyer who compared 9/11 to the drug trade.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, accused Cole of wanting to pursue terror suspects as a criminal matter in civilian courts. He cited a 2002 Legal Times column in which Cole called the Sept. 11 attacks “criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population” — like the Oklahoma City bombing.
Cole went on to write that the United States has faced “many forms of devastating crime,” from the drug trade to organized crime to rape and child abuse. “The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things,” he wrote.
King said Cole’s appointment indicates the administration wants to continue to implement “dangerous policies” of treating terrorism as a criminal issue. Attorney General Eric Holder, Cole’s new boss, has pushed for criminal trials but has struggled to bring mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed stateside for prosecution.
“I find it absolutely shocking that President Obama would appoint someone who has diminished the 9/11 terrorist attacks by comparing them to the drug trade and who believes that a civilian courtroom is the appropriate venue for 9/11 trials,” King said in a written statement. “I strongly oppose the recess appointment of James Cole to lead the national security team at the Department of Justice.”
Just to give you an idea of how today’s hearing is going, when asked by Chairman Issa if it would be proper to investigate anyone for a year and a half it there was not a smidgen of corruption, Cole answered that sometimes they continue an investigation in order to clear people who have done no wrong.
Here is Rep. Jordan’s opening statement:
Rep. DeSantis Q&A:
More on James Cole via Discover the Networks:
In September 2002, one year after the 9/11 attacks, Cole condemned the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror, contending that prosecutions related to that war should be adjudicated in civilian courts rather than military tribunals. Writing in the Legal Times, he stated:
“For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City, or of Omar Abdel-Rahman in the first effort to blow up the World Trade Center. The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.”
In addition, Cole criticized Attorney General John Ashcroft for undermining the “protections built into our criminal-justice system.”
Also after the September 11th attacks, Cole represented Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, in a lawsuit filed by Motley Rice on behalf of 9/11 families. Prince Naif headed the terror-aligned Al Haramain Islamic Foundation. Between 2002 and 2004, the Treasury Department designated 13 branches of that foundation for terror ties to al Qaeda; in 2008, Treasury extended the terror designation to the entire foundation.
Just so you know what kind of snake our likely next Attorney General is.