News & Politics

Why Eric Holder is an Alarming Pick for AG

For starters, he called for the firing of any "petty bureaucrat" who might dissent from the expansion of government powers after 9/11.

Quick! Name the veteran Department of Justice insider who, shortly after the USA Patriot Act was signed into law as the Bush administration was proposing to further erode barriers to governmental abuses, said that dissenters should not be tolerated?

Who invoked September 11, explicitly referencing "the World Trade Center aflame," in calling for the firing of any "petty bureaucrat" who might suggest that proper procedures be followed and that the separation of powers be respected?

John Ashcroft? No.

Alberto Gonzales? No.

It was Eric Holder, the man who has reportedly been selected by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States.

Appearing on CNN in June, 2002, the former Clinton administration Justice Department aide sounded as if he had just stepped out of the Bush camp: "We're dealing with a different world now. Everybody should remember those pictures that we saw on September the 11th. The World Trade Centers aflame, the pictures of the Pentagon, and any time some petty bureaucrat decides that his or her little piece of turf is being invaded, get rid of that person. Those are the kinds of things we have to do."

John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent.