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Eric Holder and Seizing Elian


One of my favorite Eric Holder stories involves his role in the Justice Department’s handling of the Elian Gonzalez case.  In the period before armed agents seized the child, the Justice Department had been leaking its intention to avoid any sort of armed intervention.  It would all be done quietly, they suggested.  When top Department officials were asked about it, they said nothing to change that impression.  About two weeks before the raid, Tim Russert asked Holder, “You wouldn’t send a SWAT team in the dark of night to kidnap the child, in effect?”  Holder answered, “No, we don’t expect anything like that to happen.”  Then the Department did precisely that. The day after the seizure, Holder appeared again with Russert, who asked, “Why such a dramatic change in position?” “I’m not sure I’d call it a dramatic change,” Holder answered.  “We waited ’til five in the morning, just before dawn.”