After the federal government closed for four days following two major blizzards, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder escaped to the warmer climes of Tampa, Florida, where he defended decisions on terrorism-related cases that have come under fire.
Republicans have harshly criticized Holder for deciding to prosecute the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, including the self-professed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in traditional criminal courts rather than military tribunals.
He has also drawn bipartisan fire for planning to hold the trials blocks from the site where the World Trade Center twin towers stood amid new concerns about security and costs.
Additionally, the attorney general has been lambasted for how the Obama administration has dealt with the accused underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was arrested on Christmas Day for trying to explode a device aboard a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
The suspect was interviewed for about an hour before he underwent surgery for his injuries. He stopped cooperating and was read his legal rights and subsequently charged in a criminal court. That all drew harsh criticism from Senator Kit Bond, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, among others.