US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said Wednesday that the killing [JURIST report] of Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive] by US forces on Sunday was lawful and justified [video]. Testifying [hearing materials] before the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], Holder said that the shooting of Bin Laden was "consistent with our values," and that the soldiers who killed him "conducted themselves totally appropriately." In a prepared statement [text], Holder said:
Three days agothanks to many dedicated military and civilian leaders; intelligence and law enforcement officers; diplomats and policymakers; investigators, prosecutors and counterterrorism expertsthe decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden came to a successful end. This historic achievement was a tremendous step forward in attaining justice for the nearly 3,000 innocent Americans who were murdered on September 11, 2001. And I hope it will inspire a renewed commitment to collaboration - across party lines, branches of responsibility, and agenciesso that we can effectively address the most pressing challenges facing the American people.Holder also expressed concerns that Bin Laden's death may prompt attempts at retaliation.
Last week, Holder announced that the Department of Justice's priorities will include protecting Americans from terrorism [JURIST report] at home and abroad, fighting violent crime, combating financial fraud and protecting the most vulnerable members of society. The speech came on the heels of Holder's failed attempts to try the 9/11 conspirators in civil trials [JURIST report] in New York. Holder announced last month that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and four other co-conspirators will be tried before a military commission [JURIST report]. Holder referred the cases to the Department of Defense [official website] after Congress imposed a series of restrictions [JURIST report] barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US. Holder refused to delay the trial any longer for the sake of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, explaining that the restrictions are not likely to be repealed in the immediate future.