"I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheik Mohammed will have to say at trial, and no one else needs to be either."
Holder announced plans Friday to try 10 of the 215 prisoners detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Five, including Mohammed, are to be transferred to New York City for trials in federal court. Another five will face military commissions.
President Barack Obama, traveling in Asia Wednesday, echoed Holder's statements, saying the New York trials will bring justice.
"I think this notion that we have to be fearful that these terrorists possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up and exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake," Obama said in an interview with CNN.
Family members of 9/11 victims, in attendance at today's hearing, excoriated Holder and his decision.
Geraldine Davie, mother of Amy O'Doherty who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald and died in World Trade Center One, attended the Moussaoui trial for its duration expressed her concern about moving Khalid Sheik Mohammed to the U.S. court system.
She recalled how Al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui used the trial as a venue to air his hatred of America. "This was a mistake…[Holder said] failure is not an option... but is that a way to run the Justice Department?...It's a tragedy we'll have to live through this again."
"We have made tremendous progress in closing Guantanamo," Holder told the Senate committee, although acknowledging that the Administration will likely not meet a self-imposed January deadline for shutting down the facility.
"Sometime this year we ought to be able to do that," he said.
The sticking point is what to do with the more than 200 men being held at the detention camp. Administration officials say 40 to 50 will be transferred to the United States to face prosecution in federal courts or military tribunals. About 100 will be transferred to other countries.
"The decisions for the remaining detainees are still pending approval," Holder said. "But we expect to have decisions for all detainees well before even the January 22nd deadline.
The attorney general told senators that federal investigators are actively participating in a review of the shootings at Ft. Hood and whether the tragedy could have been prevented.
He called it "disturbing" that there was an apparent interaction between Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, the alleged gunman, and "other people."
Holder said the president has issued a November 30 deadline for the investigation to issue preliminary findings.
"I think that's an indication of how serious we take this and how quickly we want to try to get to the bottom of it," he said.