December 31, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On yet another vacation, this time in Hawaii, President Obama elevated James Cole to the number two position in DOJ, using the oft-criticized recess appointment process.
The move, predictably triggered criticism by the right, with conservatives charging Cole with being soft on terrorism.
For example, in a piece published by the Legal Times in 2002, Cole wrote, "the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were horrible, but so are these other things." [see Canada Free Press, http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/31629]
The incoming Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King used particularly strong language denunciating the move, even to the point of calling Cole a "left wing ideologue."
"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...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..." [source, Peter King House website, http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/ny03_king/jamescole.html]
Critics have also pointed out that Cole defended Saudi Prince Saudi Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in a civil lawsuit brought by 9/11 families, charging him with financing terrorism. In a separate matter, Cole was appointed by Eric Holder in 2006 to keep tabs on ailing insurance company AIG. Though so poorly managed it had to be bailed out by the feds, Cole reportedly still received $20 million in compensation.
With Cole in place now, we can count on at least two more years of Justice granting the same rights to terrorists that the Constitution reserves only for U.S. citizens. If Team Obama has learned anything from his November 2 shellacking it is not apparent in this action. The fact that on the same day as the Cole appointment, Obama named Robert Ford as ambassador to Syria - ignoring Syria's key role in Middle East terrorism - should produce its own set of shivers among those on the national security beat.
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