Attorney General says he hopes to capture bin Laden alive and interrogate him

Under fire from Republican critics, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the U.S. still aims to capture and interrogate Osama bin Laden, but expects the al-Qaida leader won’t be taken alive.

WASHINGTON — Under fire from Republican critics, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the U.S. still aims to capture and interrogate Osama bin Laden, but expects the al-Qaida leader won’t be taken alive.

The attorney general was on the defensive from the outset in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, peppered with criticism over his handling of terrorism issues, including the planned shutdown of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre and where those suspects should be sent for trial.

He said remarks he made last month that bin Laden would not face trial stemmed from reports that his security guards are under instructions not to let him be taken alive if cornered by U.S. forces.

Shortly after he made those comments in March, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said it remains the goal of U.S. troops to capture bin Laden alive and bring him to justice, suggesting that military and legal counterterrorism agencies are not on the same page.

Holder said the plan remains to take bin Laden alive if possible, even if there is little expectation that he will let himself become a prisoner.

“Our plan is to capture him or to kill him. Our hope would be to capture him and to get useful intelligence from him,” the attorney general said.

Republicans were quick to hammer Holder over concerns he is risking U.S. security by placing some terror suspects in the federal criminal court system.

Holder announced last November that the reputed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four accused co-conspirators would face trial in New York. The White House stopped that effort, and is now preparing to put those suspects before a military commission, as the Bush administration had originally planned.

Republicans have also maintained that a Nigerian, who is the alleged Dec. 25 airline bomb attempt suspect now awaiting trial in Detroit, should have been turned over to the U.S. military.

“Pretending that terrorists can safely be treated as common criminals will not make it so,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the committee.

Democrats were just as quick to defend Holder, saying Republicans were playing politics with terrorism in a way they had not when George W. Bush was president.

“I really find it reprehensible,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“I have never seen anything quite like this,” she said. “The record is ignored. It doesn’t matter that the Bush administration brought 200 terrorists to justice” in federal courts.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ice shifted to the shoreline at Sylvan Lake on April 21. (Photo contributed by Andrea Swainson)
Icy shores of Sylvan Lake

A local photographer has captured how the ice has shifted to the… Continue reading

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

A boat sits idle on the banks of Villa Victoria Dam, the main water supply for Mexico City residents, on the outskirts of Toluca, Mexico, Thursday, April 22, 2021. The mayor of Mexico City said the drought was the worst in 30 years, and that problem can be seen at the series of reservoirs that bring in water from other states to supply the capital. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2020, file photo Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the 4th Women’s March in Los Angeles. Jenner has been an Olympic hero, a reality TV personality and a transgender rights activist. Jenner has been consulting privately with Republican advisers as she considers joining the field of candidates seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a likely recall election later this year. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Jenner adds celebrity, questions to California governor race

Celebrity activist immediately stands out in a growing field

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 file photo, Jeremy Fleming, head of the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), in London. Western countries risk losing control of technologies that are key to internet security and economic prosperity to nations with competing values like China and Russia if they don’t act to deal with the threat, one of the U.K.’s top spy chiefs warned on Friday, April 23, 2021. “Significant technology leadership is moving East” and causing a conflict of interests and values, Jeremy Fleming, director of government electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, said in a speech. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)
UK spy chief says West faces ‘moment of reckoning’ on tech

China’s Foreign Ministry condemn the remarks

Brooke Henderson, of Canada, watches her tee shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Canadian Brooke Henderson vaults into tie for fourth at LPGA Tour event

Henderson is sixth in the world women’s golf rankings

Switzerland’s skip Silvana Tirinzoni makes a call during a women’s curling match against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Natacha Pisarenko
Previously unbeaten women’s teams suffer setbacks at Grand Slam curling event

Top six women’s and men’s teams qualify for the playoffs.

FILE - Gal Gadot arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Gadot is using her Hollywood star power to spotlight remarkable women from around the world. The “Wonder Woman” actor is host and executive producer of a new documentary series “National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot,” premiering Monday, April 26. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Gal Gadot spotlights women’s stories in new docuseries

First episode follows a young Black figure skating coach in Detroit

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino listens to speakers during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday October 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Retaking language test unfair during COVID-19: applicants to new residency pathway

New program aims to grant 90,000 essential workers and international graduates permanent status

LtE bug
Letter: Questions around city funding for Westerner

The Advocate article on April 21 on page 3 “Council to discuss… Continue reading

Most Read