U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is probably relieved that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed during the military operation in Pakistan rather than being captured.
A year ago, Holder drew some scrutiny when Republicans in the House of Representatives questioned him about how bin Laden would be prosecuted if captured, whether in a traditional federal criminal court or a special military court.
Republicans and even some Democrats have opposed federal trials for the foreign terrorism suspects because they would be afforded all traditional U.S. legal rights. Military courts have more relaxed standards for allowing certain evidence to be used during trials and do not require that suspects be advised of their legal rights, such as the right to a lawyer or to remain silent.
Holder has been criticized for attempting to have some of the accused Sept. 11 suspects prosecuted in a federal criminal court and had to back down in the face of intense fury from politicians. A year ago Texas Republican Representative John Culberson questioned whether bin Laden was similar to convicted mass murderer Charles Manson and thus eligible for full U.S. legal rights.
“Well granting Osama bin Laden the right to appear in a U.S. courtroom, you are clothing Osama bin Laden with the protections of the U.S. Constitution. That’s unavoidable,” Culberson said.