Republicans used a confirmation hearing for a top Justice Department official to argue that the administration is failing to aggressively fight terrorism, says the Washington Post. The latest flare-up of the politics of terror centered on Obama’s nomination of James M. Cole as deputy attorney general, a critical position that has been vacant for months. Cole is a white-collar defense lawyer and longtime friend of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and has held numerous jobs in government, including serving 13 years at the Justice Department.
At Cole’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republicans focused on several phrases in a 2002 column he wrote for Legal Times that criticized the Bush administration’s battle against terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “The attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war — he is a prosecutor fighting crime,” Cole wrote. “For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population.” By hearing’s end, even Republicans were acknowledging that Cole’s confirmation by the full Senate was likely.