Attorney General Eric Holder says those who argue that civilian courts are incapable are handling terrorism cases "are simply wrong."
He says that after Sept. 11, members of Congress "placed unwise and unwarranted" restrictions on where certain suspected terrorists could be held, charged and prosecuted.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Holder says "many of these tired and meritless political arguments" about the effectiveness of civilian courts have come up again.
On Saturday, he told law school graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, that federal courts have shown a "robust ability to stop terrorists and collect intelligence," and he contends that any move to limit their use would be counterproductive.
The Justice Department in Washington released a copy of his speech.
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