“Hundreds” of terrorists in prison claimed by DoJ bogus

posted at 12:00 pm on March 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Late yesterday afternoon, a friend of mine at a nationally-known newspaper sent me an e-mail to inform me that the Department of Justice had finally released its documentation on Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim that the federal courts had imprisoned “hundreds” of terrorists through regular trials.  I replied that if these documents really proved their point, the late-Friday release didn’t make much sense, to which my friend agreed.  National Review’s Andy McCarthy reviewed the data and discovered why the DoJ preferred to release it under cover of darkness:

The Friday data dump is a joke. No wonder they waited til everyone was headed out of town to dump it.

An honest disclosure would have said, “OK, you got us. There are not hundreds of convicted terrorists in custody. That was an exaggeration. The critics were right when they said we were rigging the numbers and inflating our count with hundreds of cases that did not involve terrorism convictions — as well as other cases which, while colorably related to terrorism, are not in the same league as cases involving alien enemy combatants like the 9/11 plotters.” But that’s not what Justice did. Instead, it leaked its disclosure to friendly media (see, e.g., here) which dutifully spun the story to say Justice was “calling the bluff” of its critics. Plainly, Holder & Co. are trying to shape the narrative before anyone actually reads the underlying data. (After watching the media’s shoddy coverage last week of the CBO report on Obamacare, who could blame them for figuring they’d get away with it?)

But the claim that there are 403 terrorists in custody is absurd. DOJ arrives at this figure by counting what it describes as two categories of case. The first involves real terrorism charges. Sounds fair enough, but what types of “terrorism charges” are they counting? Well they include, for example, convictions under statutes barring “Animal Enterprise Terrorism,” “Narco-terrorism,” “crimes against internationally protected persons” (which can be terrorism-related but are not necessarily), hostage-taking (ditto), and offenses like harboring terrorists and material support to terrorism (which are surely terrorism-related, and involve assistance provided to terrorists, but are charges generally brought against facilitators, not actual terrorists).

Not exactly KSM. But these Category I cases, though they blatantly goose up DOJ’s numbers, don’t account for most of DOJ’s claimed 403 terrorists. Over sixty percent belong to “Category II,” which Justice, without a hint of apology, describes as follows:

Category II cases include defendants charged with violating a variety of other statutes where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism. These Category II cases include offenses such as those involving fraud, immigration, firearms, drugs, false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice, as well as general conspiracy charges [i.e., cases that charge other kinds of conspiracies, not terrorism conspiracies].

It’s important to recall what the question actually was.  The Senate Judiciary Committee challenged Holder on his declaration that the federal court system could protect national-security information and intelligence agents when trying terrorists captured abroad by our military or intel agencies.  This release amounts to a big non-sequitur, an attempt to muddy the question by answering a completely different one.

No one doubts that Animal Liberation Front terrorists should be tried in court, not military commissions. They’re Americans arrested in America by law-enforcement agents.  The same is true for “narco-terrorists”, better known as gangsters, arrested by the DEA and FBI using standard law-enforcement assets and techniques.  Only in the broadest possible sense can these types of cases be considered national-security issues.

However, we’re not using the FBI and DEA to capture and hold al-Qaeda terrorists, at least not exclusively, nor can we protect the US through those channels alone against enemies of the US.  We need our military and intelligence agencies to find these enemies before they commit their terrorist acts and get information from them to find other plots against us.  It’s an entirely different process and set of circumstances than going after eco-lunatics blowing up cars on dealer lots and scientific laboratories.  Those circumstances require the use of military commissions in order to secure our intelligence practices and assets, which Congress has now authorized three times and which even the DoJ admitted works better for national security than federal courts.

Small wonder Holder postponed his appearance before Judiciary, and small wonder the DoJ used the hoary technique of a Friday-night document dump to cover Holder’s backside on his ridiculous claims.


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Attorney General Eric Holder is apologizing for failing to send the Senate Judiciary Committee Supreme Court briefs he signed regarding the case of convicted terrorism plotter Jose Padilla.

In a letter to Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Jon Kyl of Arizona, the attorney general said Friday that the omissions were inadvertent.

The two senators say that as attorney general, Holder has minimized and understated risks of putting terrorism cases in the civilian criminal justice system

William Amos on March 27, 2010 at 12:04 PM

just another reason added to the growing list of reasons why holder needs to go…

jbh45 on March 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Lying is a prerequisite for the BHO administration…particularly on Friday night.

d1carter on March 27, 2010 at 12:06 PM

…we need a civilian national security force, that’s just as well trained, just as well funded as the military….

where would they get those willing…and able…and motivated….and malefocent…and vindictive…and “well trained” people….?????

it ain’t from high schools…..

*cue twilight zone music*

ted c on March 27, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Holder is an embarassment.

Mr. Joe on March 27, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Replace Holder with Ron Glass. Nobody will know the difference except that Glass will do a better job.

Daggett on March 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

just another reason added to the growing list of reasons why holder needs to go…

jbh45 on March 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

He’s not going anywhere.

Knucklehead on March 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

The point has come where the administration’s lies are just expected; it would be easier to catalog the truths.

Bishop on March 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Liar!

cmsinaz on March 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Liars, all.

It just never stops with the Dumbo-Crats.

GrannyDee on March 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

He’s not going anywhere.

Knucklehead on March 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

you are correct, sad to say….

cmsinaz on March 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM


We need our military and intelligence agencies to find these enemies before they commit their terrorist acts …

And that’s the hardest part for leftards to understand. They don’t get, the think you’re not a ‘terrorist’ until AFTER you’ve committed your atrocity.

They remind me of the sick b@stards on “To Catch A Predator” that say “Well, Chris Hanson, I haven’t actually had sex with her yet, so you got nuthin’ on me.”

Tony737 on March 27, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Department of Justice had finally released its documentation on Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim that the federal courts had imprisoned “hundreds” of terrorists through regular trials.

More of the Administration’s fuzzy math.

yoda on March 27, 2010 at 12:12 PM

…we need a civilian national security force, that’s just as well trained, just as well funded as the military…
ted c on March 27, 2010 at 12:07 PM

You want a national security force? No problem, it’s in the healthcare bill.

Knucklehead on March 27, 2010 at 12:13 PM

the lies and obfuscating never end

Willie on March 27, 2010 at 12:14 PM

hostage-taking

That number sounds awfully low to me if you are going to include hostage taking since nearly every domestic violence cause involves the wife being held against her will by her husband. It’s a wonder the DoJ didn’t include kidnapping to inflate the numbers even more.

Skandia Recluse on March 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Has Eric Holder EVER provided a straight answer to anything?

GarandFan on March 27, 2010 at 12:22 PM

You want a national security force? No problem, it’s in the healthcare bill.

- Knucklehead on March 27, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Pretty scarey shiite there. Who could’ve ever imagined something like this happening … well, besides George Orwell?

Tony737 on March 27, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Holder’s name is perfect.

A seat holder until a competent person can be found to replace his sorry behind.

Lying as easily as grease goes through a goose.

Like his sleazy, slimy Oboss.

profitsbeard on March 27, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Knucklehead on March 27, 2010 at 12:13 PM

WTH is a Ready Reserve Corp? Shouldn’t that be corpse?

d1carter on March 27, 2010 at 12:27 PM

When the Department of Justice consistently lies to the public and the Congress, what does that tell you?

And what does that do for respect for the law, if such a thing still exists?

Merovign on March 27, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Replace Holder with Ron Glass. Nobody will know the difference except that Glass will do a better job.

Daggett on March 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Good one.

anniekc on March 27, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Counting terrorists is hard.

txag92 on March 27, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Are there that many conservatives in prison?

OldEnglish on March 27, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Holder should move to a position within the Justice Department that he’s more suited to: person of interest.

RBMN on March 27, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Is anyone in Dear Liar’s administration even capable of telling the truth? Do they even know what truth is?

rbj on March 27, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I don’t know about his heart, but Holder’s head is certainly in the right place…up his @#*!

cartooner on March 27, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Looks pretty restrained to me. They could have included fashion terrorists, literary terrorists, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, bullies, Gary Busey, The Weather Underground and Walt “Freakin’” Whitman.

29Victor on March 27, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Ah, terrorists… those waging Private War. We used to know the distinction:

§ 68. Grounds of this distinction.

In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.

Vattel, Law of Nations, Book III.

FARC is a narco-terrorist organization that wages war against Nation States, such as Colombia and Panama, and funds some of the cartels in Mexico as well. They use the weapons of war against Nation States to their own ends outside of any law: they seek to make themselves a law unto themselves and above all others to dictate their whims and wishes upon others and seek to accountability for their actions. Those who wage such war give up their claim to humanity and as piracy is amongst the forms of predatory warfare covered by Private War we can read of it to see what state man puts himself to do so:

LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high seas, is an offense against the universal law of society; a pirate being, according to Sir Edward Coke,10 hostis humani generis [enemy to mankind]. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of society and government, and has reduced himself afresh to the savage state of nature, by declaring war against all mankind, all mankind must declare war against him: so that every community has a right, by the rule of self-defense, to inflict that punishment upon him, which every individual would in a state of nature have been otherwise entitled to do, any invasion of his person or personal property.

Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England.

These guys used to know this stuff inside and out, backwards and forwards and were able to describe the tactic of terrorism within the context of Private War. Blackstone and de Vattel were library necessities for Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln. This is how it was said for the Union forces to know how to identify those waging Private War and what to do with them:

Art. 82.

Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers – such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.

Signed into place by Lincoln in 1863 for military law.

Thus we used to know what terrorism was: a tactic in Private War.

We used to know how to deal with it: the same as with Pirates or highway robbers during wartime.

We did offer a set of US civil codes to deal with them if they got plunked down in civil court once they surrendered themselves for trial: the Piracy Statutes. That said if you had just lit off a cannon towards a civilian population and were captured, it was even chances if you even got to trial… minding Vattel and the Genovese these things could be handled pretty well locally.

Luckily we are too civilized to know what to do or to do the right thing any more. The name for being over-civilized and not recognizing how to sustain civilization is decadent. In a state of decay.

ajacksonian on March 27, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Holder is making Janet Reno look competent in comparison. Begin her thawing!

cyclown on March 27, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Just keep hauling Holder to hearings to answer for these breeches of jurisprudence, false claims, and harassment of political opponents. Hammer him with specific questions and follow ups. Don’t let him weasel out of a direct response.

Those on the Judiciary Committee should also appear on the Sunday talk shows, well-prepared to make their case and ready to refute the charge that these concerns are politically motivated.

onlineanalyst on March 27, 2010 at 1:13 PM

So this proves we have nothing but a bunch of LIARS in this admin………..but we knew that already…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2010 at 1:15 PM

A drug dealer is now a “narco-terrorist”? Maybe Holder also should count drunk drivers as “alcohol-terrorists and shoplifters as “retail-terrorists.”
The numbers will be HUGE!

LASue on March 27, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Holder’s decision to spend more time with his family will be released on a Friday afternoon, too. Or maybe a Saturday night at midnight.

SlaveDog on March 27, 2010 at 1:45 PM

onlineanalyst on March 27, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Careful, you’ll be called a racist!

Hope and Change baby, Hope and Change……….

dmann on March 27, 2010 at 1:55 PM

A seventeen year old boy stole a ten year old girl’s purse at a laundromat here last week. Terrorism? I say, yes. Tot that up, Mr. Holder.

mchristian on March 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM

I’m kinda new here, so let me ask a serious question.

Doesn’t this prove that he lied to Congress?

PappaMac on March 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM

im beginning to think Janet Reno was Holder in drag

uknowmorethanme on March 27, 2010 at 2:22 PM

I’m kinda new here, so let me ask a serious question.

Doesn’t this prove that he lied to Congress?

PappaMac on March 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Yes. But it doesn’t matter.

uknowmorethanme on March 27, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Has Eric Holder EVER provided a straight answer to anything?

Eric Holder? Heck, has anyone in the Obama Administration EVER provided a straight answer to anything?

fbcmusicman on March 27, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Sorry, this is how I wanted to post this…

Has Eric Holder EVER provided a straight answer to anything?

Eric Holder? Heck, has anyone in the Obama Administration EVER provided a straight answer to anything?

fbcmusicman on March 27, 2010 at 2:29 PM

The Obama administration: bringing new dimensions to lying.

disa on March 27, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Was Holder under oath?

RobCon on March 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

John Mitchel is smiling now….somewhere

RobCon on March 27, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I’m kinda new here, so let me ask a serious question.

Doesn’t this prove that he lied to Congress?

PappaMac on March 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM
Yes. But it doesn’t matter.

uknowmorethanme on March 27, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Exactly….and why is that, what makes nObama and his lackeys unaccountable, untouchable and way outside the mainstream of traditional America? We have had plenty of liberal administrations in the past that understood and incorporated the will, desire and beliefs held by the majority of Americans when crafting legislation, purporting governance and interpreting the constitution. nObama and his posse seem to have an agenda that is the antithesis of traditional America, an agenda that strives to reward the tyranny of minority resolve, an agenda the panders to victimhood and embraces dependence, an agenda that punishes those that have by their own actions defined what it is to be an American. This is after all a rhetorical question, the good Reverend Wright has all ready provided the answer…….”God Damn America” indeed.

dmann on March 27, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I’m amazed that Holder and DOJ still call them the T word.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2010 at 5:20 PM

just another reason added to the growing list of reasons why holder needs to go…

jbh45 on March 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Is anyone seeing a pattern to Obama’s lack of presidential judgement? Holder’s not the only one who needs to go…

DeoGratias on March 27, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Holder is an embarassment.

Mr. Joe on March 27, 2010 at 12:08 PM

But can’t one say that about the entire Obama administration including Teh Won himself? After all ‘birds of a feather…

docdave on March 27, 2010 at 7:13 PM

His math is further proof that the Administration thinks the War On Terror is a law enforcement matter rather than a military one.

AeroSpear on March 27, 2010 at 7:14 PM

And these dimbulbs actually think they’re smarter than everyone else? DREAM ON!!!!!!

capejasmine on March 27, 2010 at 7:46 PM

ooks pretty restrained to me. They could have included fashion terrorists, literary terrorists, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, bullies, Gary Busey, The Weather Underground and Walt “Freakin’” Whitman.

29Victor on March 27, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Watch it! The Weather Underground is already playing for their team.

2ipa on March 27, 2010 at 8:15 PM

He could have some really good numbers if he would include a few hundred two-year old children.

LarryG on March 27, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Holder, like Obama is a phony, unqualified for office and incompetent. Neither have the Nation’s security or best interests at heart.

old trooper2 on March 28, 2010 at 12:01 AM