The most open, transparent administration ever is ending the year by ramming through another controversial appointment under holiday cover.
Introducing recess DOJ appointee James Cole, now deputy attorney general overseeing national security:
President Obama used a recess appointment Wednesday to name James Cole as deputy attorney general.
…Cole’s nomination to the second-ranking post at the Department of Justice had been held up over objections from Republicans, who 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.
Republican senators also quibbled with a 2002 report that Cole wrote advocating civilian trials for terror suspects. Republicans have objected to trials in civilian courts for any of the detainees held in Guantanamo Bay as well as others accused of acts of terror…
GOP Rep. Peter King blasted the move in a press release sent out this morning:
Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman-elect and Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement denouncing President Obama’s recess appointment of James Cole as Deputy Attorney General, a role in which he will lead the Department of Justice’s national security team:
“I strongly oppose the recess appointment of James Cole to lead the national security team at the Department of Justice. The appointment indicates that the Obama Administration continues to try to implement its dangerous policies of treating Islamic terrorism as a criminal matter.
“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.
“This may be one of the worst appointments by President Obama during his presidency. The Justice Department needs a strong Deputy Attorney General who understands that our country remains at war with Islamic terrorists who continually plot deadly attacks against Americans, not a left-wing ideologue who places terrorists in the same categories as drug peddlers.”
Note: On September 9, 2002 – the eve of the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – Cole wrote in an op-ed in Legal Times:
“[T]he attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war — he is a prosecutor fighting crime. 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.
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. The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things.”
Background primer on Cole and AIG at whistleblower.org here.