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Holder Smacks McConnell, GOP Down on Abdulmutallab

Adam Serwer at The American Prospect gets ahold of a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder responding to some of GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) more fact-averse claims about the Obama administration’s handing of would-be Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. A choice excerpt:

Some have argued that had Abdulmutallab been declared an enemy combatant, the government could have held him indefinitely without providing him access to an attorney. But the government’s legal authority to do so is far from clear. In fact, when the Bush administration attempted to deny Jose Padilla access to an attorney, a federal judge in New York rejected that position, ruling that Padilla must be allowed to meet with his lawyer. Notably, the judge in that case was Michael Mukasey, my predecessor as Attorney General. In fact, there is no court-approved system currently in place in which suspected terrorists captured inside the United States can be detained and held without access to an attorney; nor is there any known mechanism to persuade an uncooperative individual to talk to the government that has been proven more effective than the criminal justice system.

Read the whole letter here. Holder adds, “History shows that the federal justice system is an extremely effective tool for gathering information.” More on that shortly.

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