"It makes me a bit uneasy, having served in the department, to have politicians discussing where the cases ought to be tried. That is normally the Department of Justice career prosecutors," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), pictured above, left.
Sessions, who served as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993, spoke at a hearing on oversight of the Justice Department. He asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to explain who is involved in the decision of where to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Holder, in reply, defended the involvement of President Barack Obama’s national security team, including officials from the departments of Defense and State. “This is a trial that is unique, in the sense that it does involve very real national security concerns,” Holder said.
He added that he’s “very jealous” in guarding the Justice Department’s prerogatives. But Sessions said he’s concerned it was the White House — not the department — that leaked word that the Obama administration was reconsidering a civilian trial in New York City for Mohammed.
“If it’s under reconsideration, then I think the attorney general should announce it’s under reconsideration and not the politicians,” Sessions said.
Holder said a new decision on where to try Mohammed and four other alleged co-conspirators is “a number” of weeks away.
Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi.