tv Today in Washington CSPAN May 14, 2010 6:00am-9:00am EDT
>> be interested to learn what you have in mind in terms of codifying that public safety exception in the case that gave rise to the exception, you had someone arrested in market with an empty holster. he was asked where's the gun? told where the gun was, they sought to suppress that. the court quite sensibly found no, the public safety has to be paramount here. that's quite easy when you have an empty holster. when you arrest someone on terrorism charges like in a times square case, very different situation.
clearly under the exception you can spend time interrogating the suspect about are the other cars, other bombs, other plots. but where the public safety, what the parameters of that public safety exception are, or how they would develop under case law, the degree to which congress can codifying the degree to which we can provide input in that, what the constitutional limits are, be interested to hear your thoughts and look forward to working with you on that issue. also, i appreciate the work you're doing, and the superb committee that was put together, to analyze the detainees at gitmo case-by-case to figure out what the best disposition, who can be repatriated, who has to be detained as an unlawful combatant, it's very hard work. we need to follow-up on that work though and address the tough issue together. that is, how do we do the status or use going forward.
so those that are ordered detained as unlawful combatants may or may not be prosecuted as well, but particularly if they're not prosecuted we need to work together, and i think codifying what the standard should be going forward in those periodic reviews, who ought to undertake them and what kind of oversight. and as we move people from gitmo, and i think, as we move to close down gitmo, and open up a prison, whether it's in thompson or elsewhere, we also want to make sure we have a legal mechanism in place, if there are cases we lose and, you know, there have been cases detainees at gitmo's webpage is our being successful, we need of a legal mechanism to make sure that they are not released into the united states. i look for to working with you on that issue as well. finally, raise one last thing, if i could, mr. chairman, and that is the dna backlog in los
angeles. it's imperative we work with you. we would like to establish a pilot in los angeles where samples that have been analyzed by private labs can be uploaded into code is by the public lab and the technical review can be done after there is a match and will save millions. it will take violent people off the street. and l.a. is ready to be the test area for this. and love to work with you on that. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. attorney general holder eric holder, a graduate of columbia university, appointed by president reagan to the bench, and then to the u.s. attorney general -- u.s. attorney for the district of columbia by president clinton, elevated to deputy attorney general in 1997,
private practice with covington and burlington. and then on your third of last year, was sworn in as attorney general of the united states. we have here your statement which will be entered into the record. we appreciate your patience and consideration, and welcome you to this hearing. >> well, good morning, chairman conyers, representative smith and distinguished members of the committee. i'm very pleased to appear before you today discussed the accomplishes of the department of justice in the past year. first, let me thank you for your ongoing support of the departments work and your recognition of the essential role that the department place in defending our nation, and its highest principles. by conservation process and since becoming attorney general last february, i worked to establish and to articulate a clear set of goals for the department. protecting the american people
against foreign and domestic threats. ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice, assisting state and local law enforcement, in defending the interests of the united states. i have repeatedly plays, just as it did one appear before this committee last may, to pursue these goals in the service of the cause of justice and in a way that honors the departments of commitment to integrity, transparency and the rule of law. the thousands of men and women who serve the justice department have made i believe meaningful process in meeting these goals, whether in the pursuit of prostitution of tears, and the fight against crime, or in protecting our civil rights, preserving our environment between fairness and our markets, seeking justice in our tribal communities, promoting transparency in our government and enforcing our tax laws. and despite the unprecedented challenges and new demands that have emerged, we are on the right path to fulfilling our obligations and achieving our
goals. protecting americans against terrorism remains the highest priority of the department of justice. the administration will continue to use all lawful means to protect our national security, including where appropriate military, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic, and economic tools and authority. we will aggressively defend our nation from attack by terrorist groups, consistent with our constitution, our laws, and our values. as well as our international obligations. now, as one of the counterterrorism tools available to us, the criminal justice system has proven its strength in both the capacity in tears and gathering bible in tears -- intelligence. mostly so in the case of vital shahzad. 12 days ago we believe he attempted to detonate a car bomb in times square. less than 53 hours later, thanks to the outstanding work of the fbi, department of national
security division, u.s. attorneys offices and our partners at the new police department and the department of homeland security, shahzad had been identified, located and arrested. when questioned by federal agents, he provided useful information. we now believe that the pakistan taliban was responsible for this attempted attack. we are currently working with the authorities in pakistan on this investigation, and we will use every available resource to make sure that anyone found responsible, whether they be in the united states or overseas, is held accountable. just this morning we executed search warrants in several locations in the northeast in connection with the investigation into the attempted bombing. several individuals were encountered during those searches, have been taking into federal custody for alleged immigration violations big the searches are the product evidence that has been gathered in the investigation since the attempted times square bombing,
and do not relate to any known immediate threat to the public or at the plot against the united states. i share that information just to indicate that this is an ongoing investigation, and that we're actively pursuing all those who were involved in it. this attempted attack is a sober reminder that we face aggressive and determined enemies. for example, since january of 2914 individuals have been indicted in minnesota in connection with travel to somalia to train to fight terrorist group al shabazz. a plot to bomb a danish newspaper and his of our 2008 terrorist attack in mumbai. abdulmutallab was charged with federal crimes with the attempted bombing of northwest airline flight 253 new detroit last christmas. in addition in figure 2010, as ozzy pleaded guilty in eastern district of new york to conspiracy to use weapons of
mass distraction, experts like explosions against persons or property says, conspiracy to commit murder a foreign country and providing material support to al qaeda. he admitted he brought explosives to new york as part of a plan to attack the subway system. this was one of the most serious terrorist threats to our nation since september 11, 2001. and but for the combined efforts of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, it could have been devastating. several associates of zazi have been charged in the plot, and who is also pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and faces a sentence of up to life in prison. the departments work to combat terrorism includes civil as well as criminal proceedings. for example, the department successfully defended the treasury department's designation and attended asset freeze of a saudi arabian-based charity engaged in a widespread
financial support of terrorist groups around the world, including al qaeda. in addition to these efforts to protect our nation from terrorism and other threats over the last year, we have reinvigorate what i've come to call the traditional mission of the department. we have strengthened our efforts to protect our environment, to combat health care, fraud and to enforce our antitrust laws. we have work to safeguard civil rights in our workplaces and in our neighborhoods. we have made strides in ensuring that prisons and jails are secure, and readability. and we work to make federal criminal laws more fair and more effective. and as part of our focus on securing our economy and combating mortgage and financial fraud, the department has laid the financial fraud enforcement task force that president obama established last year, using new legal tools provided by congress. once again, i thank you for your support of the departments most urgent and most essential work. i look for to working with this
committee and with congress, and now i more than happy to answer any question that you might have. >> thank you very much, attorney general. we will recess for some votes, and we will return immediately. the committee stands in recess. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> the judiciary committee is now called to order. and, mr. attorney general, we are in the round of questions. and before i pose a motion, let me suggest that by the opening statements of the members, you have heard a number of concerns. and i would only add to those concerns, not knowing all in totality, a very serious matter of mergers. and in particular the merger between continental and united. and i know that we will have an opportunity to raise that very important question you today or prospectively.
and so we are at the point of questions as i indicated, but i would like to indicate to you that our chairman, who has presided over this committee with excellence and great leadership, and presided earlier today was approached by members on the floor, having a number of conflicts and flights to catch, with important district business. because of his chairmanship of the committee and leadership, he thought it would be a service to the members if we could adjourn the hearing and schedule it at a later date. therefore, i am asking unanimous consent to a adjourn the hearing at this time. >> madam chair, i object and it would like to be recognized explain my objections back the ranking number of checks, and i will yield to him for his explanation. >> thank you, madam chairman.
the chairman and i had a discussion about this subject, whether we should adjourn now, because we are finished with votes for the day. and perhaps return next week or the week as we get back from our memorial day break. had the ap been able to assure us that he would be able to give us a time and a date to have that, to continue this hearing and be able to ask him questions, i certainly would have agreed to do that. i understand the ag's travel schedule. i can appreciate the fact that he might not be able to give us a hard date, but i'm uncomfortable adjourning this oversight hearing without that time and date specific. and that's what i feel that we should go forward and we could have a critical mass to do so. madam chair, i would be happy to yield to the ag. it looks like he was getting ready to respond as well. >> thank you. >> i'm not sure if you are
interested to if this point. are you interested in being yielded to at this point? otherwise i have a member i will be calling the. >> i am ready to proceed. >> let me -- did you -- mr. schiff from california? >> thank you, madam chair. i was just going to say, to respond to my colleague from texas. i understand the concern he has. on the other hand, the attorney general has demonstrated no reticence or reluctance whatsoever to come before the committee, not this committee, but others but i'd companies will return at the first available opportunity. if that's the case, it would be nice to have more full representation of our committee. i know a lot of members who couldn't stay, would love to participate in the hearing. they will lose that opportunity if we go forward without. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i would be glad.
>> several responses to the gentleman's point. first, it's obvious the attorney general has the willingness to stay and answer questions for as long as they might be. second of all, all members of congress were on notice that we expected to be in session today, to at least three or 4:00 this afternoon. the fact that the votes in that earlier were not anticipated, some members have not had to change any plans, if they wanted to participate in this hearing. and then thirdly, as i said to repeat myself, had the ag and ready to commit to a day sometime in the next three weeks i would have certainly gone along with the suggested that we adjourn today. but without that commitment from the ag, and despite insurance from the -- of the gentleman from california, he seemed to be more confident in the appearance of the ag in the coming weeks and the ag and so. were i think the ag would've given a commitment to a specific time and date. but absent that i think it best that we proceed. >> madam chair, reclaiming my
time. that being said, we would just go for. thank you, madam chair. >> the objection being heard on the request for unanimous consent to adjourn and the objection being raised, the meeting will now proceed. at this time, i would like to yield five minutes for his questioning to the gentleman from virginia, the chairman of the subcommittee on crime, mr. scott. >> thank you. mr. attorney general, the last time you hear i asked you about whether or not if someone had been tortured to death, whether or not a crime almost certainly would have been committed, and you answered in the positive. my question is, what is the statute of limitations for torture if someone dies, and the statute of limitations if someone does not die?
i have a lot of questions. if you prefer to respond in writing, that would be fine. >> yeah, i think i would like to respond in writing to lease the second part of the question with regard to the first part. there really is no limit of statute of limitations when the death result. >> that you. there's been controvercontroversy on the randa writes. the last case in the supreme court on miranda rights was ruled on a constitutional basis. not statutory interpretation. have we tried to change the statute, might we not cause more problems than we solve? because nobody would know intel that hits the supreme court whether we did was constitutional or not. and how would that affect the practice on the ground? a police officer has to set up and i've got all these exceptions that might have to give a miranda warning and i might not, are they a citizen, our terrace, maybe they are a citizen, not a system -- citizen, might you mess up where
brando turned out to be required rather than fixing something? would we make matters worse by trying to change and think? >> i i think it's our view that the use of the public safety exception, i want to make look to everyone, that what we're focusing on is the potential modernizing clarifying of the public safety exception, not of the brandi milligan sell. but to come up with a way in which we give agents to police officers greater clarity as to how the public safety exception can be used to the public safety exception was crafted back in the 1980s in connection with the case. that involved a police officer asking a person where is begun. we now find ourselves in 2010 in with very complicated terrorism matters that those are so in the things that occupied much of my time. we think with regard to that small sliver, only terrorism related matters, not in in a way, terrorism cases that modernizing clarifying, making
more flexible views of the public safety exception would be something beneficial. >> the point interrogations start, the police officer might not be able to tell whether it's terrorism or not, and thinking wrongly that is terrorism, you can mess up an otherwise fairly good case. but we will look to see what you come up with. the bureau of prisons is under your jurisdiction, is that correct? >> correct. >> it's an important program. do you have any statement on how we can make that program stronger? and any support you want to get to the program of why it's so important? >> is a critical part, i think, of our effort to make our prisons more than places that simply warehouse people. to give people an opportunity to gain skills and make them successful upon leaving prison. i think what people always have to focus on is the vast majority of people who go into prisons are going to come out at some point. and to the extent that we can
provide rehabilitative services to them through the vocational opportunities that the federal prison industries program provides, i think those should be supported. i am a big supporter of that program. >> thank you. i mentioned in my opening remarks the office of legal council membrane of june 29, 2007, that essentially suggested we essentially suggested religious freedom restoration act of 1993 provides a virtual blanket overriding statutory nondiscrimination provision. has your office reviewed that memorandum, and if so could you tell us, the status of which are going to do with it, would you want to get back to us in writing on that? >> well, i think i would like to get back to you in writing about that one. i have not had a chance to have the in depth conversations that would need to have about that in order to respond in what i would like to.
>> you're aware the president, during his campaign, in gainesville, ohio, indicated and ago, if you get a federal grant you can use the grant money to prophesy to the people you help and you can't discriminate against them are against the people you are on the basis of religion. that's what he wanted to do. since then there's a suggestion that discrimination would be allowed on a case-by-case basis. it seems fairly unusual that you would allow discrimination on a case-by-case basis. do you have any comment on where we are on restoring the civil rights for employees that existed from 1965 and tell 2001 or 2000 to? >> i think the administradministrations committed to partnering with a space organizations in a way that's consistent with the law, consistent with our values and consistent with the way in which i think this administration has conducted itself. the department will continue to
evaluate any legal questions that arise with regard to how we do that on a case-by-case basis, but i think overall -- >> just a bit. i think the law apparently allows discrimination the policy. you have to set the policy through executive orders, statute that is at the policy of this a decision not to allow discrimination on a case-by-case basis, one group can say we are higher people based on a group of religion and another group, we're going to allow you to discriminate on race or religion? is at the policy of this administration to allow discrimination? >> no, that is not the policy. the policy of the ministration is to interact with faith-based organizations or any organization. >> which you can do without discriminating? >> operate with them interact with them in a way that is consistent with the law, consistent with our values, and consistent with the way in which this is ministration i think has postured itself on a whole range of issues. >> let's be clear.
is the policy of this administration to -- is the policy going to be discrimination will not be allowed to? >> we are -- yes, that is not the view we share. we do not have the view that discrimination is appropriate, and we want to come as i said, interact with these organizations where these issues are presented in such a way that we are acting consistent with the law, and acting again consistent with what our values are, both as a nation and in the administration. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. >> thank you, madam chair. mr. henke, the times square bomber -- >> i'm sorry, i can't expect i'm sorry. the times square bomber, shahzad, was a naturalized citizen, just became a naturalized citizen a year ago. as you know, current law allows
us to -- >> i can't hear you. >> is it me or the mic? >> and the technician check the microphone, please? >> i'm sorry. >> thank you. >> i only regret all my art atomic might not have been heard earlier. [laughter] >> is someone working on this? >> they are. >> i don't read any bias into this, mr. agee. there is. >> mr. attorney general, the time square bomber, mr. shahzad, became a naturalized citizen less than a year ago. under current law, we can be naturalized an individual has become a naturalist system in the last five years, if they are a member of an organization whose intent is to overthrow the government of the united states. do you consider terrorist
organizations to be among the prohibited organizations that would allow us to be naturalized somebody? what is a terrorist organization, i'm using the definition of immigration act of a terrorist action. >> i am not familiar with the immigration law, or that particular immigration law, and i don't have an ability without having had a chance to study it, answer that question in an intelligent way. >> you are unsure whether someone was a member of a terrorist organization would be able to be be naturalized, is that correct, frame ago after? >> well, my answer is if, in fact, it is a statute that allows that to occur, it is not a statute that i'm conversant with and i'm not in a position. >> i will look for to you getting back to me. would you consider the pakistani taliban to be a terrorist organization? >> if -- not formally designate, i think we're servicing through their actions, and certainly with their attempt through mr. shahzad, i think they are.
it's a technically definition of terrorist organizations. >> but you consider the rangers organization? >> i would. >> would you take action and the d.o.j. can initiate this, to be naturalized the time square bomber speakers would i -- >> would you take action to be naturalized the time square bomber on the basis that he was a member of a terrorist organization, the pakistani taliban? >> well, we have a wide range of things that we can do with regard to the defendant in this potential defendant in this matter. we have an ability to put him in jail for extended period of time specs they don't intend to be naturalized in? >> i'm saying that we have the ability to have a variety of other things. and whether that there is an ability to be naturalized in. i know that sun has been discussed aware that there are constitutional issues that are involved in that process, they
surly have been raised and i think those would have to be considered as well. >> okay. i read your answer to mean that you're not prepared today to say you would denaturalize them. let me go to my next question, which is in the case of all three attempts in the last year, terrorist attempt, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical islam. do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did, because of radical islam? >> because of -- >> radical islam. >> there are a variety of reasons why i think people have taken these actions. i think have to look at each individual case. coming, we're in the process now of taking mr. shahzad to try to understand what it is that drove him to take the action -- >> by radical islam could've been one of the reasons? >> a variety of reasons. >> but his radical islam's one of them speak as there are a bride of reasons why people do
these things. some of them are potentially religious. >> all i'm asking is if you think among those writing of reasons, radical islam might have been one of the reasons that the individuals took the steps that they did speak as radical islam, i think those people who espouse a version of islam speeds are you uncomfortable contributing any of their actions to radical islam? >> i don't want to say anything negative about the religion speed is no know i'm not talking about -- i'm talking radical islam. i'm not talking about the general religion. >> and i'm saying a person, who has a version of islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it, and who espouses -- >> could radical islam have motivated individual to take the steps they did speak as i certainly think it's possible that people who espouse a radical version of islam that have had an ability to have an impact on people like people like mr. shahzad spirit and could have been the case? >> could that have been the case
the? again, could one of these three individuals bent inside but radical islam? >> i think potentially incited by people who have a view of islam that is inconsistent with -- >> mr. a.g., is hard to get an answer yes or no. let me go to my next question. this has to do with the treasury of individuals from guantánamo bay to other countries. doing no, not asking you about specifics or individuals, but i hope our federal government, do you have assurances from these countries that we have seen these transfers that we know where these individuals are, do we know whether they remained in those countries are being detained or not? >> when we make the transfer decisions, we work out an advanced security arrangements with the receiving nations, and so that we have a sense of where they are, what steps are going to be taking place to monitor their activity. >> have any of these transfer is made under this administration return to terrorism? >> i have read reports of that.
>> and if so -- >> but i cannot confirm that. >> was just a that one person dead, and that could well be the case. doesn't that give you posit about transferring anyone from gitmo to foreign countries, if even one person goes back to the battlefield, returns to terrorism and might kill innocent americans, doesn't that give you pause about the whole program? >> we put in place a very comprehensive programs that look at the 240 people who came at one time a. >> but it's not working if anybody who has been transferred to return to terrorism as you just ignore it might have been the case. it seems to be you would want to stop the program and seem to reevaluate the safeguards that you have. >> i'm confident that what we did by putting together law-enforcement, our military people, intelligent people, looking at those 240 people and making determinations as to where they should go -- >> but excluding -- >> we did spent but it's not working if you had people return to terrorism are you a transfer to other countries, that you
didn't need to transfer to other countries. the gentleman's time has expired spent let me be clear. i have not said on the basis of anything that i know that is credible or authoritative that anybody that we have released -- >> i thought he just had one may have. >> i have read reports in newspapers that that's all i'm saying that i'm not in a position to say at this point that is, in fact, active. i'm not going to comment. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i now yield myself five minutes for questioning. mr. attorney general, you have had a new global challenges, i would almost call it for fear of play on will, a minefield. let me thank you for the deliberative manner in which the department of justice has handled the matters for the american people. you are to be credited for working through difficult issues and being thoughtful along with your staff. we have difficult issues before us, and i'd like to start off with my questioning on the whole
concept of too big to fail. the department of justice is now involved. you're involved in the financial markets to your involved in communications markets, and your involved in the aviation market. because they have been efforts to merge. certainly, there is a communications merger that is before the department of justice, and another agency. but i will focus my time on the continental airlines and united, and raise several questions quickly so that you can comment on what kind of -- what structure the investigation will take. unlike comcast and nbc, which has a number of other agencies, it appears that the department of justice in this instance may be the overriding agency. so the question becomes, do we have a concept of merger that represents something too big to
fail? are the major clayton section section seven anti-competitive involved? and do a whole to the, played by one of the ceos this is in essence my words characterizing theirs, and easy to come a piece of cake, and will be done any certain period of time? the question is, the american people would be drastically impacted, my words, closing routes, closing tabs, changing locations, losing jobs. my direct question to you is, the justice department going to be guided by public statements, by ceos a piece of cake? are they going to be guided by comments, it's an illinois deal and they will look the other way? and i going to be guided by the fact that the alliance that you also do, and think you for doing so rigorously, was supposed to, by many points, represent making these entities strong enough to
stay on their own, that maybe it was a step toward monopoly. what would be the structure of that investigation? and we expect that you'll finish it in two months, as we have been represented to? >> we have a i think every file as antitrust division headed by very capable woman, christine varney. whenever a proposed transaction or agreement raises significant competition issues, the department's antitrust division will conduct a very vigorous investigation. and that is what we would plan to do here. and to the extent that the merger of united and continental would substantially lessen competition, we would take the appropriate enforcement action. the department will examine this merger as it does, all of those that are within our responsibility, very seriously, take into account all of the information that we can, and take very, very seriously the responsibility that we have, i'm proud of the workout that the
antitrust division under christine varney has undertaken a. >> will you put any self-imposed deadline on yourself, on the department of justice be? i mean, we will take the time that is necessary for us to look at it to make sure that we are comfortable with the decisions that we're making. we will not unnecessarily delay things, but will certainly take the time that we need to come up with a reasoned decision. >> thank you. let me just very quickly, two major questions have. the arizona law that seems to racially profiled a number of classes of individuals. the basic question i have beyond racial profiling is the preemption question as it relates to immigration law. have we yielded and it has the justice department plan to vigorously pursue the question of this law as it may relate to federal preempted this? let me ask the other two, even with the times were bomber, based on your experience, can you compare the effectiveness of the interrogation methods used for the attempted flight to 53 and times square bomber on one
hand, and so-called enhanced interrogation which you have addressed now in the past such as waterboarding, those calling for that approach, do you believe that flight believe that flight 253 suspect families as you have indicated would have come to unite states persuaded him to cooperate and provide significant bible intelligence to which i think is very important him if he had been waterboarded rather than getting random warnings which have been given to a terrace, alleged terrorist by the bush administration effectively what are we trying to show as we present ourselves to the world of fighting the war on terror state? if one looks at the facts, and looks at the questioning that was done by experienced fbi agents with regard to abdulmutallab, with regard to shahzad, with regard to hadley. we have seen that the customary fbi techniques do not involve the use of enhanced
interrogation procedures. have proven to be affected. we have gotten useful information, useful intelligence from all of these individuals as result of the use of techniques that are recognized as traditional, there recognized as consistent with our values. there is not a tension between conducting ourselves in law enforcement in a way that's consistent with our bags and being effective and having a village protect america people. and i think if one looks at what is happened over the past year, that his dramatic proof of that. >> the arizona law, federal preemption and the justice department intentions to? we are in the process of looking at the law. were concerned about the potential impact that it has, whether it contravenes federal several rights laws, potentially leading to racial profiling. also concerned about whether there is the possibility that crosses the line with regard to the preemption. there is certainly an
immigration issue, immigration problem, illegal immigration problem that this country needs to face, the concern we have this is something that needs to be done on a national basis as opposed to trying to do on a state-by-state basis. >> i thank the gentleman. i now recognize the gentleman from california. for five minutes. >> thank you. >> pardon me? that is correct. mr. lungren for five minutes that i appreciate your appears before us, mr. attorney general. i do have to, though we have seen so careful not to use terms like radical islam for fear of offense, but we readily refer to racial profiling being either the consequence or the motivation of the voters and elected officials in arizona, and i find it remarkable. >> i'm sorry. please not misinterpret what i said. i did not say that that was why, that was the motivating factor for the people in arizona.
i understand their frustration. i understand that frustration. i'm saying one of the things we need to look at at the department of justice is whether or not we should have a national that is very real to them. >> i understand, mr. attorney general. it must be frustrated for the people of arizona, by specifying you cannot use that as the reason for stopping an individual are questioning an individual come and get immediately there is a comment on this panel and other places that that must be racial profiling. win is something not come when they see it is not, maybe the real question here. i'll have facetiously, can we assure the american people that mr. shahzad was not motivated by anger develop by the passage of the health care bill? >> excuse me? >> that was suggested by the mayor of new york as a possible reason for the activities.
and we seem to be elected to talk about radical islam possibly being the case. let me ask this, mr. attorney general, on number in the warnings. what is the position of your administration, what is the position of the justice department on this question, do we believe that no miranda warnings should be given until we have gotten from suspected terrorists for whom we have reasonable suspicion they are involved with terrorism, that we have got from them every bit of information that they have with respect to public safety demand? >> we do this on a case-by-case basis and what would try to do is make use of the law as it exists, and we certainly know that in those additional interactions with people who we suspect to be terrorists, there are public safety questions that can be asked of them. we tried use the public safety exception to glean as much
information as we can't appropriately inconsistent with what the supreme court has said that we -- >> i appreciate that my question is at what point in time do you believe that you must cease that and give miranda warnings before further interrogation can take place because a decision has to be made about whether not you will give miranda warnings at the time when you feel that you have exhausted all the questioning that you can, under the public safety exception, whether you have made the determination that there is perhaps no immediate threat to the public or to the officers were involved. >> that's not the question i have. there is a distinction at least in my mind between the public safety exception as proper -- as previously understood by court decision. that is, it is the case of imminent danger. abdicates where i got is missing. you know it's in that location come and someone might pick up and do harm immediately. you have a case of the ticking timebomb. you have to get that information immediately. but in this case, any cases
involving a suspected terrorist, presumably we're trying to get more information than just the immediate danger. we are trying to solicit information with respect to perhaps a terrorism -- terrorist network. so my question is, is it not a somewhat different application of law or the foundations of the exception of the law, to use it in these circumstances involving terrorist as opposed to the conventional notion in criminal cases -- in regular criminal cases be? i think the definition of immediate danger is, can be different if one looks at, to use your words, the traditional context as opposed to the terrorist contacts, one of the reasons why we think that we should think about modernizing, clarifying, the public safety exception so that we would have a public safety exception that is prepared, that we could use and to -- >> one hundred get at is what is the basis of that?
for instance, mr. abdulmutallab as i understand, he gave you information, some weeks after he arrested him, or at least based on statements that have beenhe e department, one would ascertain that. if that be the case, and that information was valuable and allowing us to further understand terrorist plots, then one would question whether or not we should have tried to get that information earlier, prior to the time that we gave him the miranda warning. and if, in fact, the justification is that it is danger, not just of this the immediate short time period, that is, do we know whether he has another bomb, but rather trying to gain information with respect to terrorist activity, then that notion is different in the underlying legal argument made before the court is different that i'm trying to glean from you, what is the basis for your use of the imminent danger exception in
terrorist cases as opposed to criminal cases? >> well, if the question is, let's say in the quarrels case, what is begun, simple question. and that was a lot. in a terrorist situation, there i hope right of other questions that one would want to put to a person that are there other people who are similarly engaged, are we concerned about, we know al qaeda likes to do things in tandem. are the other bombs -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> well -- >> finish your -- >> are there other bombs that we need to be concerned with. are there other people who are going to be coming this way as a result, our youth may be the first in -- are you the vanguard of a terrace attack. is all questions that we think can appropriately be asked under the public safety exception. we want to have our view is that we would like to have a greater degree of clarity with regard to
what the public safety exception would entail. and that would be useful for agents, police officers who have to deal with a terrorist suspe suspect. >> the gentleman's time has expired. recognize the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes, mr. watt. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. i appreciate you being here, and this is been a little disjointed process. hope it hasn't blown up your whole day. but happy to have you here. let me ask frequent questions, and to the extent you can common publicly, that would be great. to the extent you want to follow up in writing, it would also be great. we got some information several weeks ago that professor laurence tribe that was coming over to assist you all with the
access to justice programs. and then it's kind of gone quiet since then. so one of the things i would like to try to find out his what he's doing and whether we're making, you know, any progress on access to justice program. and maybe you're not ready to roll that out, and i respect that if you're not ready to do that publicly here, but at some point it would be great to get a report on that. >> i can tell you that -- >> go ahead. i could ask all three of them and let you black and white -- black and wayne added. the second thing is i know that there was a settlement with aig for $6.1 to african-american
customers. while i never thought i would live to see a day that i thought $6.1 million was a paltry sum, given the magnitude of distressed that aig and others caused african-american customers, that seems like a fairly modest settlement. to the extent that you are able to provide any details on that case, without violating whatever ethical standards you have, it would be helpful to get some information on that. and then finally, i wanted to applaud obviously the objections that you all have opposed to the proposal of kinston, north
carolina, to change its voting system under the voting rights act precludes provisions -- preclearance provisions. and i would like to get perhaps in writing, again, because i'm not sure five minutes will do justice to it, some assessment of the kind of preparation you are making for the onslaught of cases that are likely to come as soon as this sense is is over. i suspect there'll be a whole new round of voting rights cases filed. and i think we need to be as prepared and d.o.d. needs to be prepared as basel ii me that oslo. so those are the three areas of inquiry, and i will shut up and you can use the rest of my five minutes to respond. and whatever you do respond to in the five minutes, then
perhaps you could send me something in writing. >> may be what i would do, i will take you up on your offer to respond in writing with regards to the second and third questions that you raised about the settlement and about the question of the census and the interaction that has with the position we've taken in kingston. with regard to the axis of justice that professor tribe is involved with, that is something that is really critical to me as attorney general and to the president as well. to come up with ways in which we make sure that people irrespective of their economic condition, irrespective of their socioeconomic status have an ability to all the fruits of our great system, one of the things that were focused on and one of the things that professor tribe is focused on, this whole question of indigent defense and whether or not people get adequate representation or not, based on the economic condition. we have seen studies. we have seen reports about
people in critical parts of criminal proceedings, acting without a lawyer. we are trying to understand what the very subsistence look like around the country. professor tribe will be intimately involved in that effort. in particular. but then more generally to make sure that all american systems have equal assess to just the. is a very eminent scholar. he is just staffing up, but i suspect he will make a major contribution to the justice department. >> they do so much. madam chair, i yield back. my time has expired anyway so i can't give any time back. but i will yield back in with. >> i thank the gentleman for you think what he might not have, but for his courtesy. i now recognize the gentleman from virginia, for five minutes for questions. thank you, madam chairman, and attorney general holder. we're pleased to have your today. as you know and i've had some conversations with your staff regarding a case that is of
great importance in virginia. in the last days of his gubernatorial term, former virginia governor tim kane, exquisitely request that a man convicted in the virginia state court's of april and violent murders of two residents of central virginia in my congressional district be transferred from virginia's prison system to germany. history serving two life sentences. it's my understand he could be released within two years. the decision to approve or deny a proposed transfer is committed to the discretion of the department of justice and in your hands. i understand the services of the events and the potential public outrage and the transfer are factors that the department considers in evaluating such transfers. i can attest to you that these kinds were heinous and the public outrage about the potential transfer are potentially not that i've been contacted by many constituents expressing opposition to this
transfer, including some involved in the original case. in addition, i forwarded to you a letter from, signed by 75 of the 100 members of the virginia house of delegates opposing this transfer. the letter was signed by republicans and democrats and independents alike, and in addition governor don contacted the department to revoke governor dean's request it and i wonder if you can tell us what the status is of that process. >> first i would agree, those were heinous and very serious crimes. the question i think that the justice department has to do with is to see what in fact is the position of the state going to be, whether or not the revocation recession by governor mcdonald of what governor tainted is, in fact, going to be upheld the court in virginia. so until that i think determination is made, the justice department really cannot
actors i guess we are waiting to see that. but i will agree with you. we're talking about the most serious crimes that one can imagine. lives were lost a as a result of the actions taken like this defendant, and it making any kind of assessment, that would be uppermost in our minds. but i guess we're waiting to see what the resolution is of the contrary positions of the two governors. >> well, general holder, it seems to me that you in your capacity could make the decision not to honor the recommendation of governor kaine, whether or not governor mcdonald's letter over turning governor kaine's request is recognized or not. it doesn't seem to me that you need to get to that question in order to simply make a determination. and i find hard to believe that the department could contemplate transferring this man to germany when the public outrage over this is so overwhelming and justice is being served by
virginia criminal justice system and then in germany he could be released in as little as two years or less. certainly not what has occurred in virginia, which required him to serve so far the fourth two life sentences that have been imposed upon an. >> i think in making the determination it makes a lot of sense to get with the state's position is actually going to be. and i think that in that case it makes sense for us to await the official determination of what the position of the state of virginia is with regard to the request that has been made. but factoring that in, i would want to emphasize that, i have been a prosecutor, you know, for a good portion of my life. i prosecuted violent crime cases, dealt with them as a judge. this is as serious a case as i have seen. and that obviously will be something that would like into any decisions that we had to make. >> let me ask another question about another issue that has been here in the congress, and
of importance. congressman barney frank has introduced h.r. 2267, legislation to repeal the recently enacted unlawful internet gambling enforcement act, a bill that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. his repeal bill also legalizes and regulate internet gambling at the federal level under the financial services regular tour agencies, among its very provision the bill in my opinion got the wire act, 181084 by stating that the wire act is not apply to any activities regulated by the licensing scheme envisioned under the bill. so i would like to know, first, do you believe that currently illegal offshore gambling operations should be legalized by the federal government? and do you support or oppose this legislation? >> we do not support the legalization of offshore gambling. when one looks at the negative impact that that has had on the lives of individuals, potential that it has for problems that my
great even on a communitywide basis, it just seems to i think, that is not something that we want, that we necessarily want to support. >> thank you. i appreciate your interest in of the risks that internet gambling poses on our constituents. >> thank you so very much. the chair when i recognize the gentle lady from california, ms. waters, for five minutes. >> thank you very much. i want to try and get responses on three issues that have. the first one that i talked about was diversity. particularly focused on fbi, and whether or not you had the responsibility for working with the fbi to ensure that the discrimination complaints that have come from within are being settled, and whether or not there is a backlog. and i will be writing his more on this, but i want to hear from you just briefly what you know
and what you have done. >> well, just two weeks ago i issued a directive come up plan for the department of justice that includes all of the departments components, including the fbi, the dea, the atf and other components that make up the department. there are people who are going to be in place to monitor this, to monitor these diversity efforts, all of the components have to come back i believe by the end of june with what their plan is to diversify their ranks. this department of justice is committed to diversity. this department of justice is at its strongest speed due to a backlog in the fbi discrimination? do have a backlog of discrimination complaints in fbi? >> i don't know. i'll have to check and i can get back to on that. >> and the report is public, that information? >> the plans to? yes. >> yes. >> quickly moving into antitrust, the big one.
the purchase of nbc by comcast, and how you do these things. we are concerned because of the size of this purchase, and were concerned that this consolidation across comcast to own movie studios, internet, cable, broadband, you name it. and some of these mergers, they don't have any public hearings on. we work with the sec, and they did agree to extend a comment here. now what is your responsibility? >> well, we certainly look at these for their impact on competition, whether or not they are necessary consolidate things that should be separate. the justice department does not typically hold hearings, or does not hold hearings when we conduct our antitrust investigations. i understand the fcc perhaps has
one or is playing to have one and that certainly i think is in there, for them to decide that the work of the justice department does is typically done in a nonpublic setting. >> would you be advantaged in any way if you had information from a public hearing from all kinds of production groups, people involved in media, about the lack of access to ownership and programming and management and all that? would that help you in anyway with your decision? >> sure. coming, we make our best decision when we have access to the grace amount of information spent so publicans that would draw this out would be helpful to you, is that rights because it would be but we'll be taking our own steps to try to reach out to be effective, potentially affected parties and getting information from them. but certainly anything that develops the record that gets more information out there that we have that we can have access
to would be something that would be good. >> and can i have my staff talking about was that you will be taking, we would like to know, perhaps we can be of assistance coming from the los angeles area were we have lots of people in production, et cetera, that is really concerned about this purchase, they? >> i will be glad to talk to you but there are limits will live on going investigations, there's oh so much we can discuss. but i think insurance of, there may be speeded whatever you can. >> we will discuss them. >> finally, let me just ask you about the militias and the right wing terrorist organizations. . .
>> the case that you described is one, is an example of that. and their plot to kill a police officer and then to try to kill more police officers who came to the funeral is an indication of the kind of activity, the kind of, the kind of heinous acts that we have to be concerned with. if one looks at these statistics, you see there has been a pretty dramatic rise in the number of these domestic hate groups, and that gives us great concern. the fbi monitors these groups being mindful of the fact that people have first amendment rights, but we monitor these groups to make sure they don't cross the line from that which is protected by the first amendment and crosses into that which is criminal.
>> so is there a formal kind of definition or way of approaching domestic terrorism and to raise the level of attention on domestic terrorism the way we have done on foreign terrorism? i don't hear it talked about, i don't hear anything coming over to us to talk about domestic terrorism. i did hear this morning that a kid was accused of being a terrorist in school because this autistic kid drew some pictures, what looked like violent pictures, but i've never heard of this kind of terrorism being described domestically, and what can you do to help focus this country and this congress on domestic terrorism? >> well, i start my day at 8:30 with a briefing from, with the fbi directer about -- >> if the general can wrap up, gentle lady's time has expired, but i'll allow you to finish the question -- finish the answer, please. >> a component of that
conversation, that briefing focuses on what is going on domestically. and so the american people should, i think, be reassured that their law enforcement agencies, the fbi, their justice department is focused not only on international terrorism, but on domestic terrorism as well. >> gentle lady's time has expired. gentleman from california, mr. issa, is recognized for fife minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. general holder, as i said in my opening statement, i'm deeply concerned that a seated member of congress, a distinguished member of this body has alleged what amounts to three felonies. the former u.s. attorney, now senator arlen specter, has confirmed his opinions if the allegations are true, they're felonies. what are you presently doing, and what will you commit to do including, hopefully, a special
prosecutor or a special investigator about these allegations by a former admiral in the navy and now u.s. congressman? >> well, i can say that with regard to the appointment of a special prosecutor that is something that is done on a case by case basis. >> and what could be more a case by case than an allegation that this white house has committed three felonies in offering a member of congress a high-ranking position in this administration in return for his getting out of the primary? what could be more appropriate than that? and if it's not appropriate and you're not conflicted, then what are you doing about it? >> well, there are regulations that are in place that have -- and there are requirements that have to be met before a special prosecutor, an independent counsel is appointed. i have great faith in the people in the public integrity section who would typically handle these. i was a member of the public integrity --
>> fine. i've sent you a letter, you've not responded to it. what is the response to investigating this? these are allegations of three crimes. there's an election to be held in a matter of days greatly influenced in the entire state of pennsylvania by these unanswered allegations of white house criminal activity. >> well, the -- i thought we had responded to your letter. if we had not, i apologize for that. these are matters -- all of these matters, any matter that comes up like that, obviously, fact-specific and deals a lot with what the intent of the person was. i'm not speaking specifically about the matter you have raised because i don't talk about any matter that might come into the purview of the department of justice. >> okay. well, then let's talk hypothetical for a moment, mr. general. section 211 which prescribes what bribery is, the offer of a government job which is section
600 by an official, are these serious matters? >> simply offering somebody a job? >> if i offer you a job in the white house, let's say secretary of the navy, in return for your doing something such as dropping out of an elected office to clear a primary, is that a serious crime? >> well, i think we're talking about more than hypothetical now. >> i'm asking if that hypothetical is a crime. you don't answer specifics, mr. general. do you answer hypotheticals? is that a crime? >> i don't answer hypotheticals. >> okay. so let me understand this. there's been an allegation by a member of this body. the allegation is that he was offered a position, a high-ranking position in the administration in return for getting out of the primary which he declined and stayed this the primary. you're saying let the ethics section, the integrity section handle it, you don't comment on it. then i ask you if those, if
allegations similar that i've alleged were true, would they be a crime, and you're saying you don't answer hypotheticals. well, look, you're here before us today. if you won't answer literal, you won't answer hypotheticals, you don't answer or apparently investigate, we have an allegation of three felonies that both the congressman says are felonies and the seated u.s. senator, a member of the same party, has said, if true, is a crime, and you're not investigating whether it's a false statement by a member of congress or a crime by the white house. what are we to do? >> well, see, the danger in dealing with hypotheticals is because you can never spin out in its totality what a real case would look like. >> general holder, it's not a hypothetical when congressman joe sestak says he was offered a job by this white house in contradiction to at least three sections of the u.s. code. i've asked you what you're doing about it, and apparently you're
not willing to say that it is being handled by the public integrity section, you're only willing to say that those kinds of things are handled. have you put any attention into following up on our letter and the allegation of congressman sestak? >> as i said, i thought we had responded to your letter, but, you know, you're saying -- >> it could be in the mail, but it's very slow sometimes. we have not received it. >> and i apologize we have not done that. the premise that you make, though, that there are violations of these statutes are, again, things that would have to be examined, would have to be looked at -- >> i'm only asking if you followed up on the allegations by a member of congress and an assertion by a u.s. senator. that's all i'm asking. i'm not asking for all the details of how you would follow up. have you followed up on these allegations that we brought to your attention that, to be honest, national press has brought to your attention? >> as i said, it is the opportunity's policy -- department's policy not to
comment on pending matters to say there is an investigation, to say there is not an investigation. that is not the way in which the department of justice under republican or democratic attorneys general conduct it. that is not what we do. and that is the way i can answer the question that you pose to me. >> i'm sorry you can't answer the question. i yield back. >> gentleman's time has expired. the chair is being sensitive to the members who are in the midst of asking questions, you'll see the light red, allowing members to finish their questions. we recognize there are people who are still traveling. with that, i will recognize mr. [inaudible] for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. i would like you to address the arizona matter. i heard you say you're looking into the matter. the way i see it, and you heard me before, i find the whole
matter offensive on behalf of all hispanics in america, but i bet i can speak for others as well. this is a nation of immigrants, and most of them are either u.s. citizens or legally residing in this country. so i am very disturbed by this law. regardless of the motives. i'm talking about a law that lends itself on its face to racial profiling. now, the way i see what the department could be doing, i see that the department could be doing any of three things. first, challenge the law in court. second, clarify its position on the preemption issue that this matter raises, and third, assuming that the law ends up being in effect and it's not challenged, dealing with its implementation. civil rights action to the extent there are civil rights
violations. so i just want you to be a bit more specific. what are you looking at? and what can we reasonably expect from the department in this matter in the near future? >> well, we are examining the law and trying to determine if it contravenes the federal responsibility for the immigration question, whether or not what the arizona legislature has tried to do is actually preempted by federal law, by federal statutes. in addition to that, we're looking at it from the civil rights perspective to see that, see whether or not the law contravenes federal civil rights statutes. that inquiry, that look at the law is presently underway, and we are in the process of trying to determine what action, if any, we are going to take. >> i see. i see. and if i have time and i'll add one thing that troubles me as a former attorney general, i am, i
think community policing is so effective in america, and this matter also raises the possibility of affecting the ability of local law enforcement to deal with our communities, gain the trust of residents this our communities when they are under siege by all kinds of crime. not only immigration violations. so that troubles me. i would like to hear from you on that -- >> though i understand as i think i said before the frustration of people along the border in arizona, i guess, here specifically, one of the concerns i have is exactly the one you have just talked about and whether or not the passage of this law will serve as a wedge between law enforcement and the communities that law enforcement is supposed to serve. if a community feels that it is being treated unfairly, that it is being profiled, you are less likely to have people share information with law
enforcement, you are less likely to have an ability to solve crimes in that community. and those are the kinds of issues that i think we have to take into consideration as we look at the law. >> thank you. >> gentleman yields back? >> i do. >> gentleman yields back. we now recognize mr. coble for five minutes, the gentleman from north carolina. >> thank you, madam chairman. general, let me extend from my opening remarks this morning. what criteria, general, set apart khalid sheikh mohammed and his co-conspirators from other gitmo detainees that require or who require civilian rather than military commission trials? >> well, the determinations that i've tried to make in making assessments as to where these cases can be tried are case-specific. where can the case best be tried? on the same day that i made the announcement that the case would be try inside a civil car --
tried inside a civilian court, i sent five or six other cases to a military commission. it deals with the acquisition of evidence on the battlefield, but we make these cases, i make these determinations on a case by case basis following a protocol that i have with, that is used by me and by the department of defense. and so each case is assessed and a determination made about where we can best try the case, where justice can best be accomplished. >> okay, thank you, general. general, you recently stated that the department is still reviewing where to try khalid mohamed and his co-conspirators. what issues is the department still addressing? >> well, we have not -- there is a review underway about the determination that i made, i guess, back in november about the location of the trial. we take into account a variety
of things. the reaction of political leaders in particular areas, the reaction of the public in that area, and we have, we're taking into account a whole variety of things in making that determination. we're not ruling anything in or ruling anything out at this point. that review is still underway. >> and, general, how many venues are you considering? >> well, i would say that we are considering a variety of places in which, and forums in which that case might be held. >> i guess specifically what i'm, what i'm driving at is in your opinion does the capital venue statute that indicates the punishable by death violation shall be in the county where the offense was transmitted, would that limit it to new york, pennsylvania and virginia? >> yeah. that is, that's a very good point. that is a statute that we have
to deal with in making these determinations. there is a statute that says if you were going to seek the death penalty, the trial has to occur in the place where the offense actually took place which does limit in some ways our ability as to where the trial could be venued though there is some question about how directive, how strong that particular statute is. but that statute certainly is a factor that has to be taken into consideration. >> thank you, general holder. madam chairman, i yield to the gentleman from virginia my remaining time. >> gentleman from virginia is recognized for the remaining time. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. general holder, following up the comments to the gentlewoman from california, i'm not taking a position for or against the comcast/nbc universal merger, but i do think the department's job is to conduct a fair and expeditious review, apply the facts of the law and make a
decision based on that analysis. i have every confidence that you and the department will do just that. >> thank you. >> we thank you. i yield back. >> i'll reclaim and yield back, madam chairman. >> gentleman yields back. we now recognize the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. general holder, we had talked about racial disparities earlier, i think, last year when you were before us, and i have a bill which i have introduced the justice integrity act recently introduced in the senate by senator biden. we've held back on the bill at the request, i believe, of justice department because you were doing an internal study, i think. have you concluded that study? >> no. the studies that we are doing are still, they are fairly close to, as i like to say coming in to a landing, and i'm starting to hear now back from the task forces that we created, and on the basis of some of the reports that i'm receiving, i will be
announcing a variety of things over the next two weeks or so. but the one that you're talking about i have not yet seen a report. >> when do you think you might see a report on that one? so you don't have one on racial disparities yet, you have others? >> well, we certainly have, we have been looking at the question of racial disparities, disparities, geographic disparities as well with regard to the criminal law, and i have received a report on that. we'll be issuing some, issuing some guidance in that regard. very soon. >> very soon. that's good. and that report will be released to the judiciary committee and the public, i presume? >> it's something that will be public. it will be certainly released in the field, and i'm sure the public will have an ability to look at what i've, my pronouncement. >> i've also introduced legislation to require states and localities that receive funds through the burn program,
jag program racial and ethics disparities and work to reduce those. do you agree states and localities have a responsibility to not use these funds to perpetuate racial and ethic disparities and reports would be a good way to put them on notice and maybe ferret those out? >> sure. the burn and jag grants are one of the chief ways in which we support our state and local counterparts, and we would expect that that would be done in a nondiscriminatory manner, dun in a way -- done in a way that would not promote disparities that would be responsive to the needs of particular communities. we are trying to make sure that those grants further the cause of equal justice as opposed to retarding it. >> i asked you, o mentioned in my -- or mentioned in my opening statement my support for senator
webb's bill. has the justice department done or intends to do any comprehensive looks at our sentencing laws and try to reform them so that they are in the 21st century? >> one of the task forces that i put in place has looked at federal sentencing laws, and it is as a result of that that, again, there will be something issued very shortly from me to the field. we have looked at the webb bill as modified, and it is one that the administration, again, now supports. >> there was an april 22 federal district court sentencing ruling by judge george wu, are you familiar with him? >> i am not. >> h issued an order and in that opinion he said much of the problem could be ameliorated by
the reclassification of marijuana from schedule one. what are your thoughts about how the department will approach a rescheduling hearing of marijuana which is right thousand in the highest class -- now in the highest class of the federal government meaning that it's with opium, heroin as far as being habit-forming, addictive and troublesome and expensive and bad and all those other things? >> well, one has to look at, i think, the issue of marijuana in its totality. the mexican cartels get the greatest amount of their revenue from the trafficking of marijuana. it is, it is something that fuels, helps to fuel the violence that we've seen in mexico, it's potentially something that can, the trafficking of this substance can have an effect on violence in the united states. what the administration has done is to say that in those states where a determination has been made that medical use can be
made of marijuana, that we would not use our limited resources to go after, to go after marijuana being used in that way, but to focus our attention on those people who are major traffickers of marijuana and other drugs that have such a negative impact on so many communities in this country. >> if i could ask the chair for just 30 more seconds? thank you, madam chair. on that summit i concur with you and commend you on that, but i would like to suggest that possibly the reason there's such a demand for that product that causes all the violence is because it's illegal and maybe if the it wasn't the class i and maybe if there was some other determinations, maybe you would -- and, obviously, it must be popular some place with someone, and that's why maybe we should take into consideration the popularity and the demand and maybe changing cultural norms and values and maybe supply and demand, and we could reduce violence through another
way than violence with violence and violence with incarceration and instead kind of work our way through this. get to a higher place, so to speak. >> gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you. >> do you have a response? >> well, i would only say that i think one of the things we ought to try to do is reduce demand for marijuana and other drugs. that will help our mexican counterparts. it is, i think, the responsibility of the united states to try to do that. this administration has tried to do that through the use of drug courts and treatment, added money for treatment facilities, and i think that is the way in which we can decrease the amount of violence that by see. >> gentleman from iowa, mr. king, is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. general holder, thanks for coming forward to testify today. i appreciate it, it's a long day. it comes to mind that representative chu spoke earlier
in her opening remarks about how arizona's immigration law institutionalizes racial profiling, and she also said that people are already being detained because they forgot their driver's license at home. could you add some clarity to that statement for this panel, please? >> well, i'm not familiar with the incident, perhaps, that congresswoman chu was talking about. the concerns that i have expressed are with regard to the whole question of preemption and whether the statute gets into areas that are more properly handled by the federal government and what the impact of the law will be on law enforcement and its interaction, its relationship with certain communities in arizona. >> and perhaps if i just state into the record that the arizona law doesn't, isn't an act, it doesn't go into effect until 90 days after its passage and signature by the governor, then we could agree any action that would be taking place on arizona's immigration law would
not take place until 90 days after signed by the governor and the balance of any activity might have been inspired by the press or public dialogue, but nothing on the authority of the legislation could possibly be taking place at this point? would we agree? >> again, i'm not familiar with the fact situation that she mentioned -- >> wouldn't that generally be the standard, though, if it were federal law or state statute that until it's enacted, it can't have an effect legally, and so her remarks that she has made would be, could not be relevant to the law's enactment itself? >> again, i don't know whether some police officer thinking that the law is going to be taking effect has acted in in a way that's inappropriate. i just don't know anything about the fact situation that she has described. >> then let's try this down the path of the constitution preemption which you mentioned. and as i understand arizona law and i could probably list a couple of minor exceptions, it mirrors federal immigration law,
and the question and the charge that seemed to come from the president was that the department of justice was going to be looking into arizona's immigration law and presumably to evaluate it constitutionality which you've referenced and whether it would violate any federal statute under that preemption clause. can you today point to anything in the institution that would prevent arizona from passing and enforcing immigration law provided it didn't go beyond the bounds of federal immigration law within the idea of mirroring that immigration law, and is there anything in the constitution you could point to that would define arizona's immigration law as unconstitutional or potentially unconstitutional? >> well, the regulation of our borders and the immigration that occurs by crossing our borders is something that is inherently something, i believe, for the national government to take responsibility for. as i indicated, i understand the
frustration that people feel in arizona. we have not done, i think, enough as a nation to deal with a very real problem that people in the south -- >> we agree. >> -- but it's really more than them, it really is a national problem. i think that is why the president has said a comprehensive look at this issue dealing with the causes of -- >> but, now -- >> -- illegal migration as well as what we deal with those people who are here without documentation is a way in which we can, hopefully, solve this problem. >> general holder, now we've digressed into policy. as far as specificity with regard to the constitution or current federal statute, and you've already gone in and investigated this, i presume at the direction of the president, so you should know today whether there is a constitutional point that can be made or a federal statutory point that can be made, and i will suggest that i have looked at this and i've asked our attorneys to look at this, and we have not found a
constitutional argument that had, that would indicate that arizona has violated the federal constitution, nor have we found a way that arizona has gone beyond the bounds of federal immigration statute, and i point out, also, that in the constitution there's nothing there that defines immigration law as the exclusive province of the federal government. only two places, protection from invasion and then article i, section 8 that says to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. the balance of that is imapplication sit, and case law supports local law enforcement in enforcing immigration law, so how would you respond to that? >> our view is still underway. we've not made a determination whether or not federal law preempts the arizona statute. it is something we are examining, i would say that is one of the two bay cease upon -- basis on which we might take legal action, but we're not at that point. >> just in response, briefly, to that inconclusive answer, i'd point out that there have been a
significant amount of resources that have been invested in looking at arizona immigration law. it appears to follow a pattern of political actions of your office, and the acorn investigation couldn't seem to get started with one single individual or one single thup inent of dollars which has knots, and it threatens the very, the underpinnings for our constitution are legitimate elections. that's the one thing that would tear this country down is if we lost our confidence in the electoral process, yet we can't investigate acorn, but we can investigate arizona, and we still can't find out what might have brought your attention to that as you haven't pointed out anything in the constitution or federal statute or case law -- >> gentleman's time has expired. >> so i'd be happy to conclude my statement with that and yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has expired. >> i just want to make one thing very clear. the determinations as to what
cases we investigate are done in an apolitical way. i'm quite proud of the way i've spent in this department of justice, i've served very proudly under both democratic and republican attorneys general. i understand the traditions of this department. i will not allow this department of justice to be politicized. people may not agree with the decisions i make, but i want the american people to know that right or wrong the decisions i make are based on the facts and the law and have no basis in politics. that's not what this justice department is about, that's not what this attorney general is about. >> gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, is recognized for five minutes for his questioning. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. general holder, there have been a number of myths that have been perpetrated by politicians speaking to inject politics into the political process, and one
of these myths that has once again reared its ugly head has been the notion that the obama administration and you as the attorney general placed the u.s. at risk by prosecuting terrorists in federal court including the christmas day bombers and the 9/11 defendants and now the christmas day underwear bomber and the gentleman who was recently arrested for leaving a car packed with explosives in times square. ..
have been able to do in the 15, 16 months or so that this administration has been in existence, that our federal, criminal courts can handle these matters. history shows that, the facts demonstrate that. the concern i have is that to the extent people want to take out, take away from us the ability to bring paces -- cases, it actually weakens this country, weakens our ability to fight this war against those who would do this nation are. we have to be able to use our military power. we need to use our military commissions. we need to use our diplomatic pars, economic strength, as well as the federal criminal justice system if we're going to be effective and ultimately win this war. we should not have this tool taken away from us. >> now, tell me, during the bush administration went these 300 or so cases, antiterrorism cases
were making their way through federal court, the final disposition, the success rate in those prosecutions was phenomenal, was it not? >> i don't have the exact number, what the numbers in a very high 90% rate. very high '90s percentage rate. >> now, if you could, i have been having trouble with this. if you could tell me what has actually changed from the time that these 300 bush administration cases were prosecuted, to the current time where we, say that the superior courts are inadequate, ill-equipped, and incompetent and unable to do what it has already established a track record of doing.
what has changed now, other than the ascent of the current party in power to that position? >> well, i often ask myself that same question as i look at people who hold themselves out as experts, pundits, on television, and who i think were notably silent when actions that we are taking now were not taken by the bush administration previously. i will lead to them to decide exactly what it is that has caused them to change their views, when we have a consistent policy when it comes to the use of the federal criminal justice system to handle these terrorism cases. but i do think that your suggestion, that the party that is now making these determinations has changed is certainly a factor.
>> well, if i might add a little commentary, editorial commentary to the back end of that. i think it's another illustration, although the decision of the notion of justice and fair play, that i have come to respect during my 30 years as a lawyer. >> i have to say, that is something that is extremely worrisome. i would think the one place in which politics might not end is when we talk about issues involving the national security, that we could as americans put aside the idea of gaining political advantage when the stakes are as high as they are. we're talking about protection of the american people, protection of american interests around the world. if ever there was something that should unite us, i don't say we
have to agree on everything, but the notion that i see, i think too often about using this particular subject to try to gain political advantage is, from my perspective, very distressful. >> primetime. >> thank you, madam chairman. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. [inaudible] >> we know that terrorists use weaknesses and more immigration laws to come to the united states to carry out attacks. so arizona, federal government totally failed to secure the border, desperately then pass a law to protect its own people. the law is supported by 70% of the people in arizona, 60% of all americans. 50% of all hispanics, according to "the wall street journal" in b.c. poll done just this week. and i understand that you may file a lawsuit against the law.
it seems to me the administration ought to be enforcing more security and immigration laws and not challenging, and that the administration is on the wrong side of the american people. have you read the arizona law? >> i've not had a chance -- i've not read it. >> it's 10 pages. it's a lot shorter than health care bill which was 2000 pages long. i will give you my copy of it if you would like to have a copy that even though you haven't read the law, do you have an opinion whether it is constitutional? >> i have not been briefed yet. as i said, we have had underway a review of the law. i have not been briefed by the people who have been responsible, who are responsible for that review. >> are you going to read the while? >> i am sure i will be the law in anticipation of that briefing. they will put that in front of me and i will spend a good evening reading that law. >> i have gone through it and it is pretty simple. it takes the federal law and an ax in a state statute although makes it much more refined and
that it says, one of the sections, no state or subdivision may consider race, color, national origin, and implement the requirements of any subsection of this law. seems to outlaw racial profiling in the law. i know there's been a lot of media hype about the legislation. do you see a difference in the constitutionality of a statute and the constitutionality of the application of that statute? do you see there's a difference in the to? >> sure. there's a potential for challenging a law on its face and then challenging a law as it is applied. so there are two bases for challenging a particular statu statute. >> and when do you think you'll have an opinion as to whether the law is constitutional? >> i have used this term a lot, but i think this is accurate. i think relatively soon. i think that we have to, there's
been much discussion about this. the review was under way. the department of justice along with the department of homeland security is involved in this review, and i would expect it -- our review of the law will be expressed relatively soon. >> you have some concerns about the statute and it's hard for me to understand how you would have concerns about something i'm constitutional if you haven't even read the law. it seems like you wouldn't make a judgment about whether it violates civil rights statutes, whether it violates federal preemption concepts if you haven't read the law. so can you help me out there a little bit, how you can make a judgment call on that, but you haven't read the law and determine whether it's constitutional or not? >> what i have said is i've not made up my mind. i've only read the comments i've made on the basis of things that i've been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously television, talking to people on the review panel, or on the review team looking out the law.
but i have not reached any conclusions as yet with regard to, i just expressed concerns on the basis of what i've heard about the law. but i'm not in a position to say at this point, not having read the law, not having a chance to interact with the people doing the review, exactly what my position is. >> the program is federal law that helps implement federal immigration statutes and gives states the authority to implement and enforce federal statutes. do you believe that is constitutional? >> section 287, yes, i believe that is constitutional. >> just a couple more questions in the minute that i have left. the folks in arizona it seems to me are like the folks in texas. they see people coming across their border illegal entry, people being in the country illegally, still against the law. the federal government is, you know, supposedly, according to you and others, that's the
federal governments job to to secure the borders, to secure the borders of foreign countries, third world countries protected borders better than we do. i think for political reasons we don't secure the border. this is not the first administration that hasn't secure the border. i hope it is the last administration so that it actually does secure the border. the law, it seems, should be enforced and that the federal government, for israel, arizona would need to have these desperate measures the other states are talking about the same thing, and they wouldn't have to have these measures if the federal government just did its job. last question. do you think if the governors as for the national guard on the board that that is a constitutional request? >> the gentleman's time has expired. i will allow the general to respond to the question. >> as i said, i think we have to have as a comprehensive look at this, and would have to have, we
have to secure our borders. we have to also deal with the millions of people who are here in an undocumented way. this is a national issue. it requires, i think, a national response, not necessarily even understand the frustration that people feel in arizona, but not doing this state by state. this is something that requires a our national government working with the states to come up with a solution, a comprehensive, comprehensive solution. >> ms. chu of california is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you so much. i have grave concerns about the civil rights of the arizona law. as i said in my opening statement. and i believe it is unconscionable for citizens to live in fear, carry multiple forms of identification with them everywhere they go, this is something one would expect from
a cold war, eastern bloc country, not america in the toy for century. i know you have said that you are looking into a review of this law, and that you will make a final decision relatively soon, i think is what you said. but if you decide not to challenge the law, do you intend to monitor its invitation to address concerns about civil rights violations? >> well, i think we would do that in any case. i don't know exactly again what we're ultimately going to do with regard to our review of the law, but with regard to the law and any other law that exists in this regard, we would constantly be monitoring it to see if there are civil rights violations, civil rights concerns that are generated by the implication of the law, should we decide not to challenge it, for instance. >> there are also three lawsuits that have been filed against this law, the national coalition of latino, it usurps federal
authority and immigration enforcement could lead to racial profiling, and two police officers are suing because it would hinder police investigation and hispanic brother is an violates the 14th mm at right of equal protection. would you consider intervening in the litigation by any other party you? again, our review is underway come and exactly what procedural step we're going to take we have not yet decided. i will need to interact with our team that has been looking at the law, and it has been conducting this review. and on the basis of that interaction will decide what action were going to take, if any. >> well, another troubling aspect of the arizona law is it requires local law enforcement to confirm what federal authority the legal status of anyone who's arrested regardless of the offense. in many cases it would take days for the department of homeland security to respond to such a request. if the police decide not to press charges based on the underlying offense, would never violate the rights to due
process if the person were held without charges for extended periods? and also do you believe the federal government could realistically and respond to all inquiries for every person arrested in arizona? >> that's an interesting question. we are working with our partners at, department of homeland security and i'm sure that's one of the questions that we are trying to deal with, what is the impact of the statute when he goes into effect, what's the potential impact of that statute on the federal government, and the resources of the federal government is able, would be able to bring to bear on this very difficult issue. so that is a part of the mix that we will consider in determining what action we will take. >> okay. well, in 1996, the office of legal counsel concluded that the state and local police lacked legal authority to detain individuals solely on the
suspicion of being in the country illegally. however, in 2002, assistant attorney general jb offered a memorandum concluding that federal law did not preempt state play some arresting aliens on the basis of ability. have you a facial at the office of legal counsel to review this policy? >> i have not as yet, but the part, as we go through our review, one of the things it has to be taken into account is the 2002 opinion that you referenced. it's continued viability, whether it is a correct assessment of the law. that is all a part of what our review team is, in fact, looking at. >> well, why would you keep that 2002 opinion in force while it is under review, if it is under review? especially given the opposition and civil liberties complaints stack i don't think as i said, it's going to take us an extended period of time to
decide what action we are going to take, but before we decide to take any action i think we need to understand this statute in its totality, the impact that it will have, understand and take into account what policies the federal government has put in place, including otc opinions, history that is involved in all of this. there's a wide variety of things that go into the determination that ultimately we will have to make. i want to make sure that we take as comprehensive a look as we can before we make what i think is going to be a very consequential decision. >> okay. and turning towards another issue that the d.o.j. actually has some action on was the investigation against maricopa county sheriff for civil rights violations and unfairly targeting hispanic and hispanic speaking people. what is the status of that against the sheer?
>> that matter is under investigation. it's under review. i can set off a lot about that because it is a matter that is under review. the sheriff has unfortunate decide not to cooperate with the investigation, and so that i think makes our task a little more difficult, but it is a matter that is underway, the review is underway. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentle it is time has expected the gentleman from arizona, mr. friends, is recognized for five minutes. >> i.t. manager. in general, your office announced some months ago that khalid sheikh mohammed would be tried in new york, and i to be very directly to, some of us were kind of stunned because of the discovery that this offered terrorists and their inability to penetrate much of our intelligence gathering, the potential of them having a platform before the world, a
recruiting mechanism. it just seemed like a terrorist dream. and i just got to be honestly i think it was an incredibly missed guided comment, but ostensibly it was so that we could show that america's system was superior to the others in the world, and that sounded like at least an honorable, you know, commitment. but then the administration said, there are several voices in the administration said, well, if they are somehow not convicted we won't let them go. in an interview with nbc news on november 18, 2009, president obama declared that mohammed will be convicted and executed in a test before the u.s. senate you state in relation to the prosecution of ksm, oh, failure is not an option. now, i don't know how that undermines our system if we really hold that notion. because you, as the attorney general of the united states and
certainly mr. obama must know that ksm and his co-conspirators are afforded in our civilian courts the presumption of innocence. and in light of this is a department obviously believe that it can successfully defend against an assertion by ksm and others that these statements have painted a civilian jury or commission members to such a degree as to deny them the presumption of innocence? >> well, maybe i can put us up once and for all. the notion, when i said failure is not an option, that was not a prediction about the course of the trial. the way in which a coach talks to his players and tells them you guys have got to go out there and win this game because failure is not enough to. that's what i was saying. >> i will give you that, but the notion that the obama administration said that khalid sheikh mohammed will be convicted and executed, the notion that the ministers have said many times that we will not let them go regardless. not only does that undermine our system but does it not afford
the attorneys of ksm the opportunity say, well, you have tainted the jury pools here at we are not afforded the presumption of innocence. that seems like not a hard question but i don't know if you're willing to address it or not. >> we would have an extensive blog you don't have to go through and i'm sure we can find people to be able to judge the case based upon the evidence of the test were those images during the course of the trial. the notion that somehow someway something that i said have so tainted the jury or so tainted a potential jury pool that would not be able to give khalid sheikh mohammed his confederate a fair cop i think is belied by the fact that we have, we have done this in the past with high profile terrorism cases in the bush administration. we have cases that are underway right now now in new york that are being handled, i think him in an uproar that way and defendants are being given fair trials. so i think we have done it in
the past that we can do it in the future. i don't think anything that anybody has said in this administration has tainted our ability, or impacted negatively our ability -- >> khalid sheikh mohammed will be convicted and executed. you don't think that is potentially suggesting that there may not be a presumption of innocence? >> well, from my perspective i think that the lawyers who will try this case our experience. the evidence that we have is good, and i'm hopeful that we will have a good outcome. that doesn't necessarily mean the trial is that there is some way -- >> respectively, i don't think you're going to answer the question, but i do think you put a judge in an impossible position of either trying to do what's right and protect the country, or break the rules as a judge that he is required -- khalid sheikh mohammed, the administration is all too quick to say, well, this person was waterboarded. if you're a defense attorney there, you have a plethora of
options to try to undermine the traffic i think everyone knows that. i certainly do. i think you do, sir. but -- sort. so let me shift gears biggies david in the the press last week and that of 9/11 mastermind leachate mohammad was brought to the u.s. for a trial and acquitted, that if he were acquitted there are quote other mechanisms we might have to deploy like immigration laws that we could use, a possibly to detain him under the worth of law. i think you meant loss of work. that's understandable. were you referring to the patriot act provision bound in section 2368, the immigration nationality act which allows for the indefinite detention of an illegal alien you certified as a terrorist? is that your basis for saying that? >> i don't -- i'm not sure about the particular section but the laws of war allow us to detain people who are engaged in conflict with the united states. a certain have habeas corpus rights and can challenge their
detention, and it has happened in a federal district court here in washington, d.c.. so that yeah, there is a possibility that khalid sheikh mohammed could be detained under the laws of war stack my final question, madam chair, what, sir, is your backup plan to protect the safety of americans if you cannot rely on an immigration detention law? what's the plan here if those things they'll? >> well, as i think i indicated in the interview that you mentioned, there is -- i have great confidence in our ability in the first instance to try the case fairly and effectively, and to get the good result. there are beyond that though, there are other options that we have beyond the trial. there are immigration laws. there are the laws of war, and with regard to the khalid sheikh mohammed, there are other charges that could be brought against him because of a other acts he did beyond what happened on september the 11th. >> i guess time will tell.
thank you, madam chair. >> a gentleman's time is expired. i am now very delighted to yield to the distinguished new member of this committee, mr. deutsch from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. delighted to have the opportunity. attorney holder, thank you for being a. i want to spend a minute after some lengthy discussions today about terrorism and preventing terrorism and trying terrorists on the prevention peace in particular the terrorist screening database, which as i understand is comprised of those individuals who are known or recently suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting in preparation for an eta related to terrorism. those are the individuals included. the question is, at what i like to hear from you about is the departments view on telling -- selling weapons to those
terrorists and suspects that if someone may be too dangerous to board a plane, but not too dangerous to purchase and assault rifle, and it specifically if you could clarify the administration's current position of halting gun sales to suspected terrorists and whether the administration supports congressional efforts to keep weapons out of the hands of those individuals that are contained within the terrorist screening database. >> we certainly want to work with congress with regard to the question about the access that people in a terrorist watch list have to obtaining weapons. although i think we should, we have to keep in mind, and this will be part of the dialogue, that the fbi is notified when somebody on a terror watchlist in fact tries to obtain a weapon. and there are, be careful here, but there are lot enforcement equities, reasons why that is something that is valuable to us. and so i think taking into
account the law-enforcement equities we have, the law enforcement realities that we now have, we would want to work with congress to talk about the issue, a very real issue that you have raised. >> general holder, in order to balance these law-enforcement equities, wouldn't it be possible to both prevent those weapons, those assault rifles in particular, from being sold to that suspected terrorist while at the same time still deriving the benefit of these equities and notified the fbi? >> i don't want to get into much with regard to techniques and how, how the fbi uses actions by certain people on terrorist watch list and what that leads to, what it is it is part of the conversation that i think we should have been dealing with a very real issue. i mean, i don't mean to denigrate the issue that you have raised, but the very real
issue that you have raised. that is something i think we should work together and try to resolve. >> i appreciate that. i would point out, as we have tried to prevent all point to terrorism, that terrorism killed 173 people, dozens of those murdered and injured were murdered or injured with ak-47s, and it does seem, and i appreciate your willingness to work with us, but if we have an opportunity to keep those sorts of weapons in particular out of the hands of would be terrorists, it would be there for us -- and i look for to having the opportunity to work together to make that sell. >> please, do not take what i say with disagree with your last statement. there are a variety of things that we need to do and can appropriately do. i just, as i said, would want to
IN COLLECTIONSCSPAN2 Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on