Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Holder hints he may leave DoJ, could kick off changes at DHS
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder hinted on Nov. 8 that he’s thinking about leaving his post, which could precipitate a round of post-election shifts at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.
In a Nov. 8 speech at the Baltimore University School of Law, Holder not only urged students and faculty to continue to work to combat crime, according to a CBS News report, but he also said he was considering whether he should move on from his position at the department.
CBS News quoted Holder as saying “I have to think about, can I contribute in a second term?”
If Holder leaves, some Washington insiders have speculated that the vacancy might be filled by current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. In turn, New York City Police commissioner Ray Kelly and retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen have been floated as possible replacements for Napolitano at DHS.
Along with the post-election agency leadership shifts, more new faces could appear on crucial homeland security committees on Capitol Hill in the coming months. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee is set to retire in January and his post is up for grabs.
Since Holder was sworn in at the Justice Department in 2009, DoJ has convicted more than 100 individuals of serious federal terrorism violations. According to the department, during 2009 and 2010, it charged more defendants with serious terrorism offenses than during any other two-year period since 9/11.
The department counted a number of notable thwarted terror attacks and convictions, including the 2009 al-Qaeda plot to carry out suicide bomb attacks on the New York subway system; Faisal Shahzad’s 2010 life sentence for attempting to detonate a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square and the thwarted 2011 Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.S. with explosives.
Holder’s time at the department has also seen some rocky spots. Lengthy political battles over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive’s (ATF) bungled “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking operation and Holder’s support of holding trials for terrorists on U.S. soil may have taken their toll.