'This Week' Transcript: Holder and Giuliani

TAPPER: Senator Joe Lieberman and some others introduced legislation this past week which would give the State Department the right to strip the U.S. citizenship from anyone who is designated a foreign terrorist agent. I understand the administration does not support this and thinks that there are constitutional issues, but there's a point that Senator Lieberman made about the fact that President Obama currently has the authority -- at least according to Lieberman, who's the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee -- to order the assassination of a U.S. citizen, the cleric Awlaki, and -- well, this is what Senator Lieberman had to say.


LIEBERMAN: If the president can authorize the killing of a United States citizen because he is fighting for a foreign terrorist organization, we can also have a law that allows the U.S. government to revoke Awlaki's citizenship and that of other American citizens who have cast their lot with terrorist organizations.


TAPPER: Isn't there a strange double-standard here? The administration gets all offended about revoking, you know, terrorist suspects' citizenship, but feels no compunction at all about ordering their assassination?

HOLDER: Well, I'm not going to assume that what has been said there about ordering anybody's assassination is necessarily true. But with regard to the bill that Senator Lieberman is potentially talking about, that's not something I had a chance to really review. There are potential constitutional issues with it, as I've seen some critics discuss. I've not had a chance, as I said, to review it in any great detail, but I think what people have to understand is that the system we presently have in place takes terrorists and can put them in jail for extended periods of time. We can put people in jail fro the rest of their lives. We can even execute people under the law as it presently exists, and one has to wonder whether we need to go further than that.

TAPPER: I want to turn to a couple of other topics. You and the White House have been proud of the improved review process for the release or transfer of detainees from Guantanamo, and in fact, writing of those detainees who had been released and who have returned to terrorism, White House counterterrorism czar John Brennan wrote in February, quote, "I want to underscore the fact that all these cases relate to detainees released during the previous administration and under the prior detainee review process," but in fact there are reports that a detainee released by the Obama administration in December into Afghanistan, Abdul Hafeez (ph), has rejoined the Taliban. Did this review process fail?

HOLDER: I've seen this story. I've not seen the intelligence necessarily that confirms that. I don't think -- one has to understand that the process that we've put in place, of the 240 prisoners who were in Guantanamo when we took office, was exhaustible. It involved the law enforcement community, it involved the intelligence community. We took into account all of the information we had on each one of those people, did an analysis of each of them, and made a determination as to who potentially was a threat. Only put people in countries where we thought structures could be in place, put in place so that they would not be a threat--

TAPPER: What structure could possibly exist in Afghanistan?

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