Transcript: Attorney General Eric Holder defends Obama administration’s records on civil liberties – May 14, 2013 press briefing

Partial transcript of Attorney General Eric Holder’s remarks defending the Obama administration’s records on civil liberties at a press conference on May 14, 2013:

The AP story, the IRS story, the failure to close Guantanamo, there’s a growing sense that this administration’s record on civil liberties has not lived up to the promises that you and others made beginning in 2008 and the criticisms of the past two administrations. Looking broadly at this administration’s civil liberties record, are you disappointed and why hasn’t more been done?

Attorney General Eric Holder:
I’m proud of what we have done. The policies that we put in place with regard to, let’s say, the war on terror – we decided that certain interrogation techniques were not going to be used. We have been, I think, very aggressive in our enforcement of our civil rights laws. There have been a whole host of things that this administration has done, this Justice Department in particular, that are consistent with what I think the President campaigned on and what we promised at the beginning of this administration.

…You mentioned civil rights laws but there are so many other examples where people are disappointed…both on the left and the right, do you need to change course? Not keep trampling on civil liberties the same way as the Bush administration did?

Attorney General Eric Holder:
No. No, we’re not. This administration has put a real value on the rule of law and our values as Americans. I think the actions we have taken are consistent with both. If one looks at in a dispassionate way what we have done in a whole variety of areas, I’ve found a moral abundance – civil rights division and that is a division now that has brought record number of cases, protected record numbers of people. I will take issue with you with regard to how we have conducted the war on terror and with regard to interrogation policies. There were changes by this administration – a repudiation of OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinions that existed when we came into office. So we’re talking about, I think, changes that were consistent, as I said, what the President campaigned on and what we talked about early on.



Learn More:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.