Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will never face trial in the United States because he will not be captured alive, Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers.
During a heated exchange with Republican congressmen, Holder predicted that "we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden" rather than to the US public enemy number one in captivity.
"Let's deal with reality," the attorney general added. Bin Laden "will never appear in an American courtroom."
Holder reacted angrily to Republican critics who say the attorney general's proposal to try terror suspects in US federal civilian courts would put Americans at risk.
"They have the same rights that a Charles Manson would have, any other kind of mass murderer," he told a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.
"The notion that a defendant in an Article III (civilian) court is somehow being treated in an inappropriate, special way -- that he's being coddled, is anything but the truth... These defendants charged with murder are treated just like any other murder defendant would be."
Republican Representative John Culberson said Holder's analogy to Manson, a convicted killer, showed President Barack Obama's administration has a profound disconnect with an American public that wants the terror suspects to be tried as war criminals and not as criminal defendants.