Asked whether terrorism suspects could be held forever, Holder responded: "It seems to me you can think of these people as combatants and we are in the middle of a war," Holder said in a CNN interview in January 2002. "And it seems to me that you could probably say, looking at precedent, that you are going to detain these people until war is over, if that is ultimately what we wanted to do."
Just weeks later, Holder told CNN he didn't believe al-Qaida suspects qualified as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
"One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located," said Holder, the former deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration. "Under the Geneva Convention, you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people."
Holder said it was important to treat detainees humanely. But he said they "are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war." He also downplayed criticism that prisoners were being mistreated.
"Those in Europe and other places who are concerned about the treatment of al-Qaida members should come toand see how the people are, in fact, being treated," he said.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Meet the new boss -- Justice edition
Eric Holder the Attorney General designate in the days before torture became unpopular: