US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] on Monday delineated the priorities and missions [speech text; video] for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] for the remainder of his present term. Holder said that the DOJ's priorities will include protecting Americans from terrorism at home and abroad, fighting violent crime, combating financial fraud and protecting the most vulnerable members of society. Holder recognized the DOJ's work in fighting terrorism, citing that the department prosecuted more terrorists than in any other two-year period. The DOJ also filed a record number of civil rights and criminal cases and secured an all time high in civil recoveries. Holder touted the DOJ's record recoveries from financial fraud and efforts to increase awareness about financial crimes. He also emphasized that the department will seek to use the federal court system to try terrorism cases.
The speech comes on the heels of Holder's failed attempts to try the 9/11 conspirators in civil trials [JURIST report] in New York. Holder announced earlier this month that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and four other co-conspirators will be tried before a military commission [JURIST report]. Holder referred the cases to the Department of Defense [official website] after Congress imposed a series of restrictions [JURIST report] barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US. Holder refused to delay the trial any longer for the sake of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, explaining that the restrictions are not likely to be repealed in the immediate future.