« | »

Andy McCarthy Says ‘No’ To Eric Holder

From the National Review Institute:

May 1, 2009

By email (to the Counterterrorism Division) and by regular mail:

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.  20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases.  An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants—or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.”  I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith.  Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States).  Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues.  I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people.  Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.

Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct.  Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.

Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities.  This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case.  Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America’s “commitment to the rule of law.”  Indeed, you elaborated, “Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay….  President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law[.]”  (Emphasis added.)

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting.  After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.
For what it may be worth, I will say this much.  For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated.  Essentially, there have been two camps.  One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s.  The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission.  Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism—a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.

There are differences in these various proposals.  But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing:  Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted.  We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans.  Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamo detainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.
The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight.  Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year.  The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules.  Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried.  Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy.  It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that’s what it takes to close Gitmo by January.

Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance.  I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees.  According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training.  Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from the United States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.

I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness.  But I can decline to participate in the charade.

Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.  It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties.  It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States.  I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno—as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the “blind sheikh” would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment.  In any event, I’ve always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology.  Thus, my conservative political views aside, I’ve made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who’ve thought tapping my experience would be beneficial.  It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.

Very truly yours,


Andrew C. McCarthy

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, May 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

29 Responses to “Andy McCarthy Says ‘No’ To Eric Holder”

  1. JohnMG says:

    Have we no other statesmen who will stand with Mr. McCarthy and the truths he presents? This is a rare act of courage by an official who values patriotism above political expediency.

    Bravo, Andy!

  2. catie says:

    Wow, I wish more on our side of the aisle would stand up to this sham. But they’ll find someone like Lindsey Grahmnesty who will be more than happy to go along.
    Rush was reading this while I was baking a cake and I was sure that Steve would post something about this. Thank you for posting the entire letter. Reading it really speaks volumes.
    God Bless Andy, we sure could use a lot more of him.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      Uh, what kinda cake? And did you make enough for everyone?

    • catie says:

      It is a Lady Baltimore Cake with Strawberry filling and yes, I think I’ve made enough for everyone. Come on over, Sir.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    I believe we have found at least one GOOD American who is not afraid to call a Spade a Spade and isn’t kissing the southern front end of a vertical Ebony toothpick.
    Bravo Andy…..

  4. Colonel1961 says:

    I’m not sure the juveniles at the White House and the Department of Justice will be able to decipher such an erudite abasement (or ‘bitch slap’ in their parlance) as has been delivered to Mr. Holder. Wm. F. Buckley could not have said it better…

  5. proreason says:

    Mr. McCarthy….say the word and I’m there with you. You are the kind of person this country needs desperately right now.

  6. jrmcdonald says:

    This is the Hero the RNC is looking for!

    • texaspsue says:

      He’s just plain, A HERO! God bless you, Andrew C. McCarthy. What a GREAT American! Can we clone him? :-)

  7. Reality Bytes says:

    Apparently, this is the “Go F Yourself Heard Round The World”. Is this the first of many cracks in their seemingly invinsible dyke that protects them? Will they run out of fingers to stick into it? (I hear Hillary has already volunteered for front line duty!)

    I’m sorry! Did I type that?! Yup, I did.

  8. canary says:

    Is the media not giving time to angry Republican leaders, or are our leaders not angry and not speaking out. We need some Jimmy Stewarts and John Waynes

  9. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I listened to Rush read the whole thing and all the while, through my mind, like the old “Batman” TV series, visions of “WHAP” “BAM” and “ZING” appeared in my head. A smile went across my face that I haven’t experienced in some time.

    Almost wanted to tune into the MSM tonight to see if it would even get a mention. I quickly changed my mind, knowing full well that Mr McCarthy’s letter had probably been circulated to all DC democrats and they were fuming mad. I felt good about that.

    Would definitely love to see more of such actions on the part of responsible people who have some sort of influence.

    Naturally, Mr McCarthy will be subjected to some sort of ridicule by such losers as Matthews and probably even Obama himself. But after seeing the little crack in the black stick’s ubercool demeanor over the Chrysler gig, I can easily believe he is fuming and stamping his widdle feet over this letter.

    I love the fact that Mr McCarthy spelled it out, carefully, diligently, brilliantly.

    When Rush finished reading, I heard myself say, “There, take THAT!”

  10. GnuCarSmell says:

    Andy is one of the sharpest guys out there, and he simply saw through Obama’s scam. He refuses to play the part of ‘useful idiot’ for Obama, and for that, I salute him.

  11. Barbie says:

    Oh my, someone didn’t fall for Mr. Holder’s bs, eh what? Bravo, Mr. McCarthy, bravo.

  12. MinnesotaRush says:

    How absolutely wonderful and spot on, Mr McCarthy. God bless ya! Keep up that marvelous work. It’s inspiring!

  13. Umm.. Remember there are still Clintons around.. Were I him, I would double my personal security detail.

  14. wardmama4 says:

    Mr. McCarthy just spelled it out in glorious black and white (how appropriate is that) for all who want to remain Republicans and get votes in future elections.

    It is simple, it is positive and it really is easy – simply state the facts and stand up for your position, beliefs and principles.

    I fear that too many with the (R) behind their names do not bother with the facts, are afraid to stand up for any position (hmmm, now who does that remind you of), have no personal beliefs and never had any principles.

    Yes – indeed Mr. McCarthy is someone the GOP needs more than ever right now.

  15. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    How rare it is for a politician to display a big pair of brass ones by telling it like it is and standing by his convictions and not giving a rats @ss what anyone else thinks.

  16. Odie44 says:

    Andrew C. McCarthy is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was most notable for leading the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others. The defendants were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and planning a series of attacks against New York City landmarks.[1] He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, resigning from the Justice Department in 2003.

    This is all the American people need to know. I really do hope the WH and Dems attempt a character smear game against McCarthy.

    His background is similiar to Giuliani’s – federal prosecutor who follows the law, fights the good fight and doesn’t back down when confronted. As much as the Dems and libs demonized Giuliani for cleaning up NYC crime – the fact is every limousine liberal in Manhattan openly criticized his Mayorial term – yet basked in the financial glory he produced – and got elected twice. It wasn’t until the way he handled 9/11 did Giuliani finally get the credit and became “America’s Mayor”.

    In the end, behind all the rhetoric of the left – common Americans “want people on that wall and need people on that wall” to defend national security. McCarthy and Giuliani are similiar in this vein.

    Please WH/Bambi – go after McCarthy in your thuggish Chicago way.

    Jason Gillman –

    Much like rudy – I am confident McCarthy’s “contacts” and friends run really, really deep. Clintons are great at taking out nobody’s – but I get what you mean…

    • The_Beloved_Deb says:

      How refreshing to see positive comments about Rudy. For almost two years I’ve only seen him trashed. Very disheartening.

  17. IronFistVelvetGlove says:

    In your face!

  18. EddieG3 says:

    This is a letter to the media, not to Eric Holder. It is propaganda. What is the truth? Where is the response to such allegations??? Not all of the detainees are terrorists. Some are innocents that were in the wrong place at the wrong time, gathered up in a frenzy net of suspicion. Should these innocents have been detained indefinitely because the government was too embarrassed to admit, “I made a mistake?” What do we do with the innocent man (or woman)? We have damaged their lives forever. Should we continue to punish them forever for our mistakes???

    • proreason says:


      There were lots of cab drivers and barbers hanging around those battle zones, looking for fares and people with messy hair as the mightiest military machine ever assembled rolled through.

      And after all, we can only demonstrate that something like 15% of the people released so far have returned to their jihad ways, so what’s to worry about?

      McCarthy is probably just another Halliburton flunky.

      You’re onto something Eddie. Yep.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      “Letter to the media”?

      And how did you first learn of this? From the media? Nothing was said of it on any of the MSM’s news services.

      Did you read the letter?

      Why would you say it’s a piece of propaganda? Because that’s what YOU as a LIBERAL are accustomed to doing/hearing/using in your daily life. When a person of true character writes something that comes straight from the mind, you are instantly aghast because you have such a hard time grasping reality.

      How about this, we’ll let one or two or three or more of those “innocents” live in YOUR house when they get released, how does that sound to you?

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      It seems as tho’ Eddie’s mom caught him on the computer after bed time. It would appear that he’s been “put back to bed”. :-)

    • Liberals Demise says:

      …..or given in to the BIG SLEEP!!

  19. proreason says:

    In honor of Mr. McCarthy, and in hopes that he will be one of the shepards to lead us out of this wilderness, here is a wonderfully hopeful article from today’s American Thinker. It’s title is “Before the Dawn”:


    “Before the dawn, there are noble men and women — people like John Paul II, Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan — who work in the darkness. Their trust in victory is based upon a trust in the power of goodness, the granite of integrity, and the knowledge that God rules the universe”

« Front Page | To Top
« | »