Eric Holder talks military tribunals and Guantanamo Bay on “Face the Nation”

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Attorney General Eric Holder defended the idea of trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in a civilian court on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”

“Why can’t we use a great criminal justice system that has proven effective in these kinds of cases over the years?” Holder said. “We have tried over 300 terrorists in our criminal justice system. We have gotten very long sentences where that was appropriate.”

Holder said that military tribunals have their place but that it would be a mistake to exclusively utilize them in terrorism cases.

“I think if we try to exclude the federal criminal justice system, we are taking away one of the tools that we have, and I think ultimately, we make this nation much weaker,” Holder said.

He didn’t, however, give any indication of a timeline for the final decision where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried.

“No decision has been made yet as to exactly where the trial is going to occur,” Holder said.

Holder also talked about the administration’s desire to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and said that, though the camp remains open, progress has been made.