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Rep. King Blasts Obama's Recess Appointments

By The Hill, The Hill - December 30, 2010

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has angrily denounced President Obama's recess appointment of James Cole as deputy attorney general.

King called Cole's appointment "absolutely shocking" and said it might be one of the worst appointments Obama will make during his presidency.

"I strongly oppose the recess appointment of James Cole to lead the national security team at the Department of Justice," King said in a statement. "The appointment indicates that the Obama Administration continues to try to implement its dangerous policies of treating Islamic terrorism as a criminal matter."

The harsh words demonstrate the deep divisions that exist between some of the president's policies and Republican positions on terrorism issues and serve as a harbinger of the inevitable clashes to come between the GOP chairmen of key national security committees and the administration.

Cole has advocated for the use of civilian trials in prosecuting terrorism suspects, and King views the appointment as a sign of the administration's intent to continue to try detainees through the criminal justice system rather than through military tribunals, which most Republicans prefer.

King said that Cole's appointment is exactly the wrong message to be sending to U.S. citizens, especially after the public pushback on Obama's attempts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba. During the lame-duck session, Congress attached language to the $1.1 trillion spending resolution to keep the government funded next year that would prevent Obama from spending any funds to try terrorism suspects in civilian court instead of military commissions.

The resolution essentially prevents the closing of the facility in Guantanamo Bay. Several New York Democrats, along with a vocal group of GOP lawmakers, earlier this year also expressed deep concern about Justice Department plans to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared 9/11 mastermind, in federal civilian court in New York. 

"After the American people, and the Democratic Congress, unequivocally rejected President Obama's plans to close Guantanamo and transfer admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to the United States for trial in federal civilian court, I find it absolutely shocking that President Obama would appoint someone who has diminished the 9/11 terrorist attacks by comparing them to the drug trade and who believes that a civilian courtroom is the appropriate venue for 9/11 trials," King continued.

"This may be one of the worst appointments by President Obama during his presidency," King added, referring to Cole as a "left-wing ideologue who places terrorists in the same categories as drug peddlers."

King was referring to an op-ed Cole penned for the Legal Times on Sept. 9, 2002, in which Cole said 9/11 should be treated as a criminal act of terrorism against a civilian population instead of as an act of war requiring military tribunals.

"[T]he attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war "” he is a prosecutor fighting crime," Cole wrote. "For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City, or of Omar Abdel-Rahman in the first effort to blow up the World Trade Center.

"The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights."

The editorial also compared the attacks to the drug trade, organized crimes, rape, child abuse and murder, saying all are horrible.

"Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime, including the scourge of the drug trade, the reign of organized crime, and countless acts of rape, child abuse, and murder," he wrote. "The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things."

Cole's nomination to the second-ranking post at the Department of Justice had been held up over objections from Republicans, who also raised concerns over his tenure as an independent monitor of insurance giant AIG between 2005 and 2009. The federal government bailed out the company in 2008.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attempted to confirm Cole by unanimous consent during the lame-duck session, but GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) objected.

While the recess appointment allows Obama to fill a key spot at the Department of Justice, Cole will have to be nominated again and confirmed by the end of the next session of Congress. That could be tougher, given the larger GOP minority in the next Senate.

Cole is a partner at the firm Bryan Cave LLP and previously served as a Justice Department official between 1979 and 1992. He worked on former President Bill Clinton's transition team in 1992.

"” Jordan Fabian contributed to this report.

Source: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/135439-gop-lawmaker-calls-obama-recess-appointment-absolutely-shocking The contents of this site are © 2010 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc. Comments (13)PAGE |1|2|>is anyone paying attention to CPAN? cpan has gone full blown promoting obama's and the democrats agenda. this whole week has been GO OBAMA on cpan. cpan lies everytime they say the cable companies DONATE cspan's time on air. that is a lie. every single cable user is charged a globbed on fee that is hidden in the operating costs. the cable companies are not donating anything and we are paying for cpans propaganda. . BY linda on 12/30/2010 at 09:49Why is anybody surprised by anything that buffoon does?BY David Allen on 12/30/2010 at 09:58Everything Obama does is underhanded and met to erode the meaning of honesty and integrity. When will peple wake up to his background. He is a hand to mouth guy and a survivor. He has minimal social knowledge of how to get things done in tandem with others unless they want what he wants. Obama is a person who used the system to get where he is and will continue to do so as will Eric Holder to puch their radical agenda. There is no surprise here. The good news is all of htese escapades are just building to a GOP landslide in 2012. He comes from nothing and feels that he is owed and therefore doesn't need to act in accordance to protocol as much of the Far Left beliveve. Their indifference to the Constitution and lack of feeling for this country is why they (and Obama) feel entitled to do anything they deem necessary to push their agenda. He's finished. People are sick of him.BY JOBS on 12/30/2010 at 09:59@Linda: Who's CPAN? You best stick with Fixed News. Apparently, you can't handle the truth.BY Veta on 12/30/2010 at 10:04"Their indifference to the Constitution and lack of feeling for this country is why they (and Obama) feel entitled to do anything they deem necessary to push their agenda. He's finished. People are sick of him."Apparently, the American people are sick of the likes of you. The majority want BIPARTISANSHIP not gridlock. If GOBP don't come center, they too will be voted out in 2012! Count on it Bubba!BY Veta on 12/30/2010 at 10:14@ Vita"Apparently, the American people are sick of the likes of you."WRONG. It's the other way around. We are tired of ideological, hate spewing, couldn't care less about the constitution, loud mouthed, insulting people who are in the vast minority but seem to think by being rude & loud it makes your arguments stronger. WRONG. Perhaps you were watching re-runs of Woodstock during the month of November? Who are you to call an anonymous poster Bubba? Who exactly do YOU think you are? BY daytona on 12/30/2010 at 10:34Let me guess. He's BLACK.BY Timothy L. Pennell on 12/30/2010 at 10:37If Obama continues to circumvent congress…he does so at his own peril. There is a reason three branches of government were put in place. Obama's shallacking was no mistake. More to come…if he don't stop his dictatorship.BY Dawn on 12/30/2010 at 10:37It's not shocking at all, President Bush made 23 recess appointments in his administration.. Thanks Pete the Pandering CongressmanBY John on 12/30/2010 at 10:42you cannot win a war when you refuse to identify your enemy-Radical islam is at war with us-they are not criminals, they are terroist soldiers.BY marcy on 12/30/2010 at 10:46PAGE |1|2|>Add Comment

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Cole has advocated for the use of civilian trials in prosecuting terrorism suspects, and King views the appointment as a sign of the administration's intent to continue to try detainees through the criminal justice system rather than through military tribunals, which most Republicans prefer.

King said that Cole's appointment is exactly the wrong message to be sending to U.S. citizens, especially after the public pushback on Obama's attempts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba. During the lame-duck session, Congress attached language to the $1.1 trillion spending resolution to keep the government funded next year that would prevent Obama from spending any funds to try terrorism suspects in civilian court instead of military commissions.

The resolution essentially prevents the closing of the facility in Guantanamo Bay. Several New York Democrats, along with a vocal group of GOP lawmakers, earlier this year also expressed deep concern about Justice Department plans to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared 9/11 mastermind, in federal civilian court in New York. 

"After the American people, and the Democratic Congress, unequivocally rejected President Obama's plans to close Guantanamo and transfer admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to the United States for trial in federal civilian court, I find it absolutely shocking that President Obama would appoint someone who has diminished the 9/11 terrorist attacks by comparing them to the drug trade and who believes that a civilian courtroom is the appropriate venue for 9/11 trials," King continued.

"This may be one of the worst appointments by President Obama during his presidency," King added, referring to Cole as a "left-wing ideologue who places terrorists in the same categories as drug peddlers."

King was referring to an op-ed Cole penned for the Legal Times on Sept. 9, 2002, in which Cole said 9/11 should be treated as a criminal act of terrorism against a civilian population instead of as an act of war requiring military tribunals.

"[T]he attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war "” he is a prosecutor fighting crime," Cole wrote. "For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City, or of Omar Abdel-Rahman in the first effort to blow up the World Trade Center.

"The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights."

The editorial also compared the attacks to the drug trade, organized crimes, rape, child abuse and murder, saying all are horrible.

"Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime, including the scourge of the drug trade, the reign of organized crime, and countless acts of rape, child abuse, and murder," he wrote. "The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things."

Cole's nomination to the second-ranking post at the Department of Justice had been held up over objections from Republicans, who also raised concerns over his tenure as an independent monitor of insurance giant AIG between 2005 and 2009. The federal government bailed out the company in 2008.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attempted to confirm Cole by unanimous consent during the lame-duck session, but GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) objected.

While the recess appointment allows Obama to fill a key spot at the Department of Justice, Cole will have to be nominated again and confirmed by the end of the next session of Congress. That could be tougher, given the larger GOP minority in the next Senate.

Cole is a partner at the firm Bryan Cave LLP and previously served as a Justice Department official between 1979 and 1992. He worked on former President Bill Clinton's transition team in 1992.

"” Jordan Fabian contributed to this report.

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