HA Exclusive: A conversation with Scott Fenstermaker

posted at 8:48 am on November 25, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I published a letter I received from a source within the DoD from the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel, in the Office of Military Commissions, that suspended Scott Fenstermaker as one of the civilian defense attorneys for the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.  At the time, I tried contacting both the OMC and Fenstermaker in order to get statements about the authenticity of the memo and the circumstances surrounding the suspension.  In the evening, I did receive an initial response from Fenstermaker with a statement for publication, which I added to the original post in an update.

Afterwards, Fenstermaker contacted me again, offering to share more documents related to his suspension, as long as I agreed to publish them in full.  The documents give a broader context to the issue.  In our e-mail exchange, which I will publish in this post in full with Scott Fenstermaker’s permission, Fenstermaker says he was never told why he was suspended other than the vague allegations in the original August 29, 2008 memo of not being “forthright” and of “counterproductive” interactions.  He attempted to argue for his reinstatement, but never heard anything back from the OCDC.  In fact, Fenstermaker asks me to let him know if I get an answer from the DoD.

To set the stage, here’s his suspension letter, which I published yesterday:

Suspension letter

Three months later, Fenstermaker received a letter from the OMC/OCDC notifying him of what appears to be an automatic review of his suspension. The letter asked Fenstermaker to notify them if he wanted to pursue reinstatement:

Reply to Fenstermaker from Kryzminski

Less than three weeks later, Fenstermaker responded to both Col. David and Col. Kryzminski, challenging the basis of his suspension. He refused to reapply, considering it tantamount to an endorsement of the suspension, and asked again for the details of the allegations:

Fenstermaker letter to Kryzminski

Three months later, Fenstermaker got a reply from Col. Masciola, the new Chief Defense Counsel for the OMC, that rejected his argument about the suspension. Masciola ruled that certification was completely within the discretion of himself and his predecessor Col. David, and did not supply him with any explanation at all about the allegations against Fenstermaker. Masciola did, however, agree to lift the suspension against Fenstermaker for one client only — Ghailani, who had demanded Fenstermaker as his representative during a hearing:

Masciola letter

Meanwhile, Fenstermaker says that the DoD has apparently set up their Internet systems to block his website, something he only discovered when one of his former clients, Ammar al-Baluchi(Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew and Ramzi Binalshibh’s cousin), informed him of it. According to this screen shot allegedly taken by al-Baluchi, Fenstermaker’s URL is now listed as a “malicious web site”:

Website notice

As I noted above, Fenstermaker and I had a lengthy e-mail conversation last night after he sent me the information. I’ll post it unedited, with Fenstermaker’s contributions in block quotes, for Hot Air readers to see in full. At the end, I’ll add my thoughts.

Ed,

The appropriate person to contact regarding my suspension is Colonel David. I wrote to an officer in the Office of the Chief Defense Counsel, of which Colonel David used to be in charge, seeking clarification of the issues you raise. They never responded.

Scott

Scott,

Thank you for your response. I have submitted that question to several people at the DoD, including the media contact for the military commissions. I’ll add this to my post in order to make sure that people understand that.

Ed,

I don’t know what your perspective is, but there was some follow-up correspondence to my suspension letter. If you would like the sum total of it, let me know and I will forward it immediately. I only ask that you print all four letters on your website/blog. I think your readers would find the government’s letters interesting.

Scott,

Thank you – I would be interested in seeing them. If I print anything — and it’s a good story, so I’d be inclined to do so — I would, as you request, print them all in full. In fact, since I printed the suspension letter, I think it would be rair [sic] to let people read the entire correspondence and judge the full exchange in context. If you shoot them over to me tonight, I’ll have them up in the morning.

Ed,

As you requested. Let me know if you have any questions. You should know that about 12 or 13 days after the 9/11 defendants learned of my suspension, they fired all of their attorneys and attempted to plead guilty.

Scott,

Thank you, much appreciated. Your reply to the OCDC was very interesting; I’m assuming you have not heard anything specific in response. I’m curious about the guilty pleas; do you think that is related to your suspension? If so, how so (or would you not care to speculate)?

Ed,

I never heard any response to my letter to the OCDC, other than Colonel Masciola’s March 16, 2009 letter. Not an e-mail, letter, phone call, tweet, blog, etc. I get asked all the time why I was suspended. My answer is usually “I don’t know.”

I believe the firing of the attorneys and the guilty pleas are related to my suspension, but in order to explain why, we would have to have a lengthy conversation about the events leading up to their early November firing of the attorneys and attempted guilty plea. The military defense attorneys, and the civilian attorneys they selected to assist them, have been heavily involved in violating these guys’ rights. Amazingly enough, the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys were involved in assisting in these violations, and went so far as to pay civilian attorneys to do legal work, with donated funds, to violate these guys’ rights. Little, if anything, is known about this by the public, but the detainees are intimately familiar with this problem, and have been victimized by it repeatedly. Hence, their contempt for the ACLU, which probably surprises many people, although not anyone familiar with what has gone on. The detainees have become understandably skeptical of assigned counsel, will almost certainly reject assigned counsel upon arrival in New York and, if the judge insists on assigning counsel, may put counsel in a position of physical danger (although I sincerely hope not).

Again, I don’t know your perspective, but I encourage you to be fair. The government is involved in egregious, and repeated, wrongdoing. That wrongdoing may not excuse the defendants’ misconduct, if any, but it has certainly fueled their anger against the United States government. By the way, are you aware that the United States Department of Defense has determined that my firm’s website is a “malicious website?” Mr. al-Baluchi informed me of this. See attached.

Scott,

I’m going to be as fair as I possibly can in presenting the material you have sent me, and I’d be happy to use the entire text of our correspondence as well in the post (mine and yours), but I want to double-check with you first; we didn’t discuss on- or off-the-record status after your initial e-mail to me. As far as the lengthier conversation, I wouldn’t mind at all hearing what you have to say. Of course, I reserve the right to have my own opinion on it, but I think you’ll find me a fair person for a conversation.

This question is off the record, and you can either answer it or not. The source who sent me the memo (who may have his own motives, of course) said that the rumor around the issues in the suspension letter was that you were a “9/11 Truther.” I didn’t print that, because there was no factual basis for the rumor; I can see arguing the Truther theory of 9/11 as a defense strategy, although I think it might be somewhat counterproductive in front of a NYC jury to try it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you believe in it. Not sure if you want to address that at all, on or off the record. I’m just throwing it out there and won’t use it at all unless you want to address it specifically for the record. However, given your message below, I figure you may want to be aware of it.

Ed,

You can use anything and everything I sent to you, so long as you don’t make things up.

I don’t know what a “9/11 Truther” is. If you explain it to me, I’ll let you know if I’m one. My involvement in this defense has nothing to do with 9/11 at any level. My wife and my oldest daughter were within 200 yards of the South Tower when both planes went in that morning and I was scared as hell. I was crying watching it, and cried for months after reading those blubs the NY Times wrote about the victims. Having said that, I am a lawyer, in every sense of the word. I was born to defend people and love every minute of doing so. That’s what I do for a living and it is my calling. I’m also a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy (class of 1984) and the United States Air Force’s prisoner of war training (SERE), which has become somewhat famous because of the CIA’s use of it torture my clients, and others. I’m in this so that no other country or foreign people can ever say that no American stood in defense of these men. I will defend them with my last dying breath.

Any questions?

Scott

P.S. You can print this entire e-mail if you want.

Scott,

Well, if you have managed to avoid the Truthers, you’re better off. It’s a set of conspiracy theorists that claim that the US gov’t brought down the WTC buildings in a controlled demolition, that the planes were military planes and not commercial flights, and that it was a missile that hit the Pentagon, all to give Bush a pretext to grab Iraq’s oil fields.

Just for the record, I believe that the defendants should have proper and dedicated representation, regardless of what venue gets chosen (commissions or federal court). I adamantly believe that commissions are the proper venue, however. Just so you know where I’m coming from.

Ed,

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less. We have much bigger problems right now than rehashing yesterday’s news. The military commissions were a bad, and frightening idea. The military cannot be trusted with them (see my suspension letter). By the way, if you ever get an explanation of why I was suspended, please share it with me. I need the comic relief. I will not be part of their “proper and dedicated representation,” but will watch with interest as this plays out. I do have fears that they will hurt which ever attorneys are assigned to them, and I will personally ask the Justice Department to make sure the attorneys are protected.

Scott

Scott,

Thanks for the conversation this evening. I’ll be posting it tomorrow morning, along with all of the documents; would love to talk more about the issues surrounding the case in the future. Drop me a line any time. My best to your family. And if I do hear from the DoD with anything substantive, I will be sure to alert you immediately.

===========

So what to think? I have nothing against the notion that the detainees should get representation, and that their attorneys should work hard on their behalf — although I also strongly believe that should take place in a military tribunal for war criminals captured abroad. I should also note (as you can see by reading this) that Scott was very responsive to my questions. And if the memos are the complete record of the conversation between Scott and the DoD, I agree that they owe him a better explanation of the reasons for his suspension. It seems more than a little strange that they didn’t provide him with more details of the allegations while asking him to respond to them for a potential reinstatement.

Frankly, though, a couple of things here bother me. I can allow for the idea that some people have never heard of 9/11 Truthers, especially people who don’t marinate in politics or the law, but an attorney representing defendants in a 9/11 case? I find that very, very hard to believe, especially since it could be a defense strategy, although not a terribly good one. The ACLU as an enemy of the 9/11 defendants sounds like an interesting story, and perhaps I’ll find out more later, but it seems equally farfetched. I’m not saying either are impossible, but unlikely? You make the call.

Update: Just as I did yesterday, I erroneously wrote “Fensterman” instead of Fenstermaker a couple of times in the post. I have it corrected now; thanks to Roger B for pointing it out.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

So, can we assume Scott is reading everything we write? Have at it, folks.

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 8:53 AM

Shakespeare had the right idea almost 500 years ago.

jjshaka on November 25, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Really good work, Ed. Thanks.

Proud Rino on November 25, 2009 at 8:55 AM

I’m speechless at the moment…

Wow!

singlemalt_18 on November 25, 2009 at 8:56 AM

OK, his comment about the 9/11 truthers is so hard for me to believe that I feel the same way I did about him after the BO interview.
As for the rest of it, I think the government is seriously our of control, both sides, but I can not help but see this guy and see red (anger).
I just reread. He is lying about the truther stuff, that’s mo.

ORconservative on November 25, 2009 at 8:57 AM

I can allow for the idea that some people have never heard of 9/11 Truthers, especially people who don’t marinate in politics or the law, but an attorney representing defendants in a 9/11 case? I find that very, very hard to believe…

That struck me right off the bat. The guy seems to be very open with you, but not on this issue. Although I can see him not wanting to state an answer to who attacked on 9/11, since that’s who he is defending.

JetBoy on November 25, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Tell you what, I am a jury of his peers and he is lying and he is far worse at it than Obama.

ORconservative on November 25, 2009 at 8:59 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

Not credible.

ProfessorMiao on November 25, 2009 at 8:59 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC

Sorry Ed, but the guy is an alien.

Amadeus on November 25, 2009 at 9:00 AM

I wouldn’t read too much into the “9/11 Truther” thing. Notice in his responses he talks about his desire to zealously defend his clients. As such, he doesn’t want to taint any possible future representation by stating one way or another he’s heard of the Truthers.

A possible defense of these guys would be that there was a massive government cover-up that day that brought down the Twin Towers. How would it look if someone trotted out a Hot Air email that shows him saying he thinks the 9/11 Truthers are paranoid lunatics? Or, on the other side, if he’s arguing that his clients couldn’t have done this for reasons X, Y and Z, and someone shows an email of him claiming support for the Truthers? Both would be devastating in a court of law.

Nethicus on November 25, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Fenstermaker in my personal opinion is the lowest form of douche bag scum on the earth. This statement does not and should not be taken as representative of HotAir or it management and is solely my personal opinion.

doriangrey on November 25, 2009 at 9:01 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC

Really? No Idea??

Wow – hard to say what to make of this lawyer…

jwehman on November 25, 2009 at 9:02 AM

Although I can see him not wanting to state an answer to who attacked on 9/11, since that’s who he is defending.

JetBoy on November 25, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Agreed, but “I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less” isn’t a lawyerly response to the question. Something along the lines of “That is for the courts to determine” would be appropriate and professional.

ProfessorMiao on November 25, 2009 at 9:02 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

Beneath all the lawyerly rebuttals lies the awful truth. Ugh.

This may also be a clue as to why the DoD decided his website was “malicious” and thus blocked access to it. I’m guessing they don’t trust him, and gosh, I can’t imagine why.

Buy Danish on November 25, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Meanwhile, Fenstermaker says that the DoD has apparently set up their Internet systems to block his website, something he only discovered when one of his former clients, Ammar al-Baluchi(Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew and Ramzi Binalshibh’s cousin), informed him of it. According to this screen shot allegedly taken by al-Baluchi, Fenstermaker’s URL is now listed as a “malicious web site”:

Lemme get this straight: KSM’s nephew has access to a DoD computer? Either that or someone does who would forward him the screenshot.

WTF?

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:03 AM

I’d have fired him, too.

OldEnglish on November 25, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Amadeus on November 25, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Agreed. Wow. Just. Wow.

Meanwhile I simply cannot get my head around enemy combatants requiring “representation”, or that it should be their “right” to be represented. I don’t care whether they hold US citizenship or not – being caught engaging in military or terror operations against the United States and its citizens should merit them all due process of intelligence extraction, followed by summary execution.

-Wanderlust

Wanderlust on November 25, 2009 at 9:04 AM

FWIW, I’m sure he knows what a “9/11 Truther” is but you have to be precise. Is a person who believes that the US govt wasn’t responsible, but neither was al Qaeda, a 9/11 Truther?

I mean, I think that’s all kind of silly, frankly, but if I were a defense attorney for these guys that’s something I’d be very careful about. He has to protect his clients.

It sounds like a discretionary decision, and I imagine that’s all it was. Someone just got a bad feeling about the guy, and since it’s a national security issue, they don’t want him have access to these nuts lest we have another Lynne Stewart situation. But the fact that he is being allowed to represent one of these nuts indicates that it couldn’t have been much more than “I just get a bad feeling about this guy,” which seems like a bad reason to deny someone counsel even if you do have the risk of him aiding terrorist actions.

Proud Rino on November 25, 2009 at 9:04 AM

I have no evidence to back this up, but my experience is that if he’s claiming no knowledge of Truthers and explains that by saying “I have no idea who attacked the WTC,” then he’s probably a Truther. The fact that he’s attacking the ACLU from the left sort of adds to that.

Caiwyn on November 25, 2009 at 9:04 AM

I haven’t read all of this yet, but I’m very pleased that it is presented in a manner that I can follow and download easily. This was a lot of good work. Thank you very much, Ed.

Back to reading.

Loxodonta on November 25, 2009 at 9:05 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less. We have much bigger problems right now than rehashing yesterday’s news. The military commissions were a bad, and frightening idea.

I’d shoot this treasonous POS just for this statement. His is a dhimmi scumbag of the first order.

Having said that, this hatred of scummy defense lawyers based on the clients they represent was inevitable the instant that Holder and O’Baama decided to provide terrorists with civilian criminal protections.

Jaibones on November 25, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Amazingly enough, the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys were involved in assisting in these violations, and went so far as to pay civilian attorneys to do legal work, with donated funds, to violate these guys’ rights.

Let’s just say that I’m a bit skeptical of this, and Mr. Fenstermaker’s public comments/interviews up to this point haven’t earned him any goodwill or sympathy that would allow me to take anything he has to say at face value.

The government is involved in egregious, and repeated, wrongdoing. That wrongdoing may not excuse the defendants’ misconduct, if any, but it has certainly fueled their anger against the United States government.

Misconduct is an interesting way to describe unlawful combat or terrorism.

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

That’s more or less the public face of trutherism. And, as a defense lawyer for a guy who planned the attack, shouldn’t he care a just a bit about whether or not his client was actually responsible?

BadgerHawk on November 25, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Comments like “I don’t know who attacked the WTC and could care less” doesn’t help him. He needs a good PR firm to help him.
But I do agree, everyone deserves to be represented…honestly in court.
It doesn’t mean everyone being represented, needs to be represented as innocent…I am still of the naive state of mind to ask for the court to find the truth.
He comes across as an arrogant “Don’t give a damn” type of guy. Who wants to win his case at any cost…any price, using any tactic.
He may not be like that, but that is his persona…like I said he needs a good PR man, but I suspect he is too arrogant.

right2bright on November 25, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Agreed, but “I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less” isn’t a lawyerly response to the question. Something along the lines of “That is for the courts to determine” would be appropriate and professional.

ProfessorMiao on November 25, 2009 at 9:02 AM

True, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since it was said during an informal email exchange.

Not that I’m trying to defend this attorney and what he is doing…that’s a different matter.

JetBoy on November 25, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Perhaps he is more a “lone wolf” conspiracy theorist or outlier, who is more lost in protecting the “purity” of the law?

He may have just been compared to a “truther” of sorts?

singlemalt_18 on November 25, 2009 at 9:07 AM

I stopped reading when he said he had no idea who attacked the WTC.

Typical truther response.

csdeven on November 25, 2009 at 9:07 AM

I am a lawyer, in every sense of the word. I was born to defend people and love every minute of doing so.

Traitor! Burn in Hell, mofo!

SouthernGent on November 25, 2009 at 9:07 AM

I don’t care whether they hold US citizenship or not – being caught engaging in military or terror operations against the United States and its citizens should merit them all due process of intelligence extraction, followed by summary execution.

Wanderlust on November 25, 2009 at 9:04 AM

If they are soldiers of a nation that is a signatory to the Geneva Convention they get rights and protections that are for all intents and purposes the rights and protections of a Citizen.

Holger on November 25, 2009 at 9:07 AM

And, as a side note, I’m liking these Hot Air exclusives.

BadgerHawk on November 25, 2009 at 9:08 AM

I should have put “and couldn’t care less” in bold type to stress just how vile (and inept) that statement is.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Mumbai massacre. Can you imagine a defense lawyer saying “they couldn’t care less”?

Buy Danish on November 25, 2009 at 9:08 AM

A blogger committing acts of journalism? Is this allowed?

ignorantapathy on November 25, 2009 at 9:08 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less. We have much bigger problems right now than rehashing yesterday’s news. The military commissions were a bad, and frightening idea. The military cannot be trusted with them

This trial is a sham. This president is a sham. This lawyer is a sham. He is entitled to nothing. This is all a sick joke. Obama and parasites like him and this “lawyer” won’t be happy until the finish destroying this nation.

elduende on November 25, 2009 at 9:09 AM

He doesn’t know what a 9/11 Truther is?

He doesn’t care who attacked the WTC?

Stupid ostrich…

ladyingray on November 25, 2009 at 9:10 AM

the DoD has apparently set up their Internet systems to block his website… Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew and Ramzi Binalshibh’s cousin… informed him of it.

Am I the only one who finds it odd that this guy has access to DoD computers?

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

How did everyone miss the obvious. WTF are these detainees doing with internet access?

It really is a gd country club down there. Rush was right.

p0s3r on November 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Kudos on giving Fenstermaker a chance to fully present his side of the story up to this point, Ed. I’m sure in the case of both sides, we’re still not getting everything, and going by his interview on O’Reilly Monday night, a lot of this could be driven by a clash of strong-willed personalities on both his side and that of the DoD.However — and he may just be doing this for legal purposes — I find this line from his reply…

I don’t know what a “9/11 Truther” is. If you explain it to me, I’ll let you know if I’m one.

…to be a little disingenuous. There is no way a lawyer for any of the alleged 9/11 terrorists cannot have heard about the Truther movement, given how much it has played a part in the tactics of the most ardent opponents of both the War on Terror and of the existence of the Gitmo detention facility and of the Bush policy of holding the terrorists as enemy combatants.

It’s Fenstermaker’s choice what to and what not to say in his defense of the action taken by the DoD. But if the Truther defense pops up during the trial of KSM and his cohorts, I’m going to laugh if the spin is the defense didn’t know about this possible massive government conspiracy until a blogger on a conservative website told them about it in November of 2009.

jon1979 on November 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

I think so too.
Let’s review. People who know abouut the truthers (ha) think they are nutty unless they are on the far left, then they likely think they are nutty but they delight in the anti American angle of it all, Bush’s fault and all the shit.
But think about it, say you are an intelligent Truther (ha again) and no one is taking you seriously. Good God what a awesome platform to prove your case. Sure you let the dogs spew their Allah crap but then you introduce truther steel doesn’t melt stuff and whammo you have a venue in which you not only have to be taken seriously you have the ear of the world.
I think this guy has his own agenda and they had every right to can him.

ORconservative on November 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

He has to be a truther. He avoided the first question by replying that he didn’t know what the word truther means (thus avoiding answering the question itself), and once you explaining the term, he actually said he has no idea who attacked the WTC, and that we have bigger things to worry about. What does “no idea” mean? He literally has no clue? Has he never heard a theory (even the official story)? More likely, he completely swept your question aside.

All evidence points to this guy being a truther. As for his zeal in defense of his clients, I suppose that could just be his thing… But there’s something extra here. A sort of surplus zeal. More then appropriate… I think he really thinks they’re innocent, and the missing factor is that he is a truther. His “him against the system” mentality and paranoia fits in perfectly.

ebrawer on November 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

He has no idea who attacked the WTC? Even though AQ took credit, he has no flippin’ idea?

That makes him a liar or a fool – either way he may not be sufficiently mentally competent to assist in the defense of his clients.

There’s so much to say about this crap weasel.

landshark on November 25, 2009 at 9:12 AM

The dude is clearly a kook. That is always disappointing when it manifests itself in someone who is a graduate of a military academy. I did note a couple of things:

1) Though he references his graduation from the Air Force Academy and Sere training, he makes no reference to actual service in the Air Force – I would be curious about how, where and for how long he served.

2)I found his answer “I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less” to be very evasive, and not wholly inconsistent with Trutherism. Ditto the anecdote about his family on 9/11.

3)He is not just providing his clients with the zealous defense to which they are entitled – he is aiding them in using their trial as a platform for a religio-political attack on the US which is actually likely to be inimical to their defense

holdfast on November 25, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Yeah, he’s a lawyer.

SKYFOX on November 25, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Umm, did he say he has no idea who attacked the WTC? No idea? Really? Ummm . . . He might as well be a truther, and he surely is less than candid in denying he knows what truthers are.

JudetheFossil on November 25, 2009 at 9:12 AM

True, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since it was said during an informal email exchange.
JetBoy on November 25, 2009 at 9:07 AM

It’s kinda like “in vino veritas”.

Or what happens when interrogators earn the trust of the detainee, who suddenly spills the beans. Well done, Ed!

Buy Danish on November 25, 2009 at 9:12 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

From the PBS Newshour, October 29, 2004…this is a report on the infamous bin Laden campaign video for Jeanne-Claude Kerri, who would later blame this video for his losing to the “idiot” who in reality had higher college grades than he did.

A tape aired by Al-Jazeera television Friday showed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden admitting for the first time that he orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and saying the United States could face more.

It was the first footage of bin Laden to appear in more than a year and came just days before voters head to the polls Tuesday after an extremely tight president race.

In the 18-minute tape, bin Laden, who appeared to be sitting or standing at a table against a neutral background, said: “Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened.”

Bin Laden said he thought of the method of attacking U.S. skyscrapers when he saw Israeli aircraft bombing tower blocks in Lebanon in 1982.

“We decided to destroy towers in America,” he said. “God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind.”

Gee, I guess Scott wasn’t watching teevee that night?

Del Dolemonte on November 25, 2009 at 9:13 AM

If Mr Fenstermaker is following this I want him to know that I too believe in a proper defense — for peopel who are not the enemies of my country. He may have been born to defend people and he may “enjoy” every minute of the practice. He needs to learn that there are some people who do not deserve defending.

His enjoyment not withstanding for my money he is a traitor to his country; he defends the very people who would destroy his country, his family and everything that makes it possible for his to do what he “enjoys” doing so much.

He is a traitor to his country and to his family.

johnsteele on November 25, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Is there any way we can drop this sludge bucket in the middle of Saudi Arabia or something?

amerpundit on November 25, 2009 at 9:15 AM

OT: Anyone else think the background on Mr Fenstermaker’s photo makes him look like a 4th grader? The only thing better would have been the stars background.

the DoD has apparently set up their Internet systems to block his website… Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew and Ramzi Binalshibh’s cousin… informed him of it.

Am I the only one who finds it odd that this guy has access to DoD computers?

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:11 AM

No. That piece of information could possibly have its own post.

BadgerHawk on November 25, 2009 at 9:17 AM

I hear Jon Gosselin may need a lawyer. Might be a good match.

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 9:18 AM

[[Ed: sorry to interrupt but the page is failing to anchor when comments are submited.]]

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM

[[Naturally, it worked for my last comment...]]

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM

No idea what a 9/11 truther is? Not credible. I understand wanting to keep that association from himself in light of circumstances, but it is inconceivable that an attorney so intimately involved with the 9/11 defendants and case would have no idea about the 9/11 truthers. If so, he’s probably not qualified to be on this case as that sort of gap in common knowledge requires 8 years of cultivated ignorance.

He has no idea who bombed the WTC? Dude, your clients pled guilty to it already.

Also, the claim that he is the only counsel the KSM et all would accept or they might do something violent to any appointed counsel is inane. I think we can rest on the assumption his clients would do something violent to any US citizen they can access.

I do not believe this case belongs in a civil court, nor do I believe the defendants have any reason to be afforded the rights of US citizens. They are not US citizens and do not belong in the US.

Personally, I am inclined to find the posture of the DoD telling. This is an attorney with a history of using overwhelming discovery requests as a tactic. I am stunned at his less than zealous efforts to resolve his own defense.

That being said, is anyone really surprised that a defense attorney signed on to suck up the money and attention this trial offers and is shifty about answering questions regarding himself and his own history and motives?

I’m a capitalist with a JD and I understand the passion to defend anyone and everyone in a court of law – but not at the expense of integrity and truth.

Welcome to the next OJ trial.

ace tomato on November 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I will have to read all of this afternoon but I have to point out the obvious. Mr. Morrissey had recieved an impressive amount of access to this gentleman, which speaks volumes for Ed as a fair man. That’s extremely high praised for anyone let alone a blogger from a crazed Rightwing site. Congratulations.

Cindy Munford on November 25, 2009 at 9:23 AM

I suspect this guy’s “unproductive interactions” were propagating anti American views, trying to justify or explain why 9/11 was coming. I have no proof of this, but I have a very strong hunch. Based on this guy’s performance on O’Reilly, proclaiming he would be PROUD and HAPPY to see Americans mad at him representing these terrorist scumbag mass murderers.

AlexB on November 25, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Ed: I have nothing against the notion that the detainees should get representation, and that their attorneys should work hard on their behalf — although I also strongly believe that should take place in a military tribunal for war criminals captured abroad. I should also note (as you can see by reading this) that Scott was very responsive to my questions. And if the memos are the complete record of the conversation between Scott and the DoD, I agree that they owe him a better explanation of the reasons for his suspension.

Agreed in full.

Loxodonta on November 25, 2009 at 9:26 AM

Ed, is this some sort of a trap?

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM

I hear Jon Gosselin may need a lawyer. Might be a good match.

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 9:18 AM

Sorry, Mr. Fenstermoron will be too busy defending the people responsible for killing 3,000 innocent people.

amerpundit on November 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM

All this back and forth, procedure here, rebuttal there. It’s all a bunch of blah, blah, yadda, yadda, which cannot hide the fact that lawyers are all scum.

NavyMustang on November 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Roger that, Cindy. A terrific bit of journalism Ed. And whether or not any of us agree or believe his responses to you, I will give Fenstermaker some snap for answering questions and providing some documentation to flesh out a story. Just remember, he is the one telling the story.

ace tomato on November 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Eric Holder’s law firm provided aggressive and disruptive pro bono defense for these and other Gitmoites. What’s this ahole’s relationship with that firm?

How can it be that on both sides of the fence the chief attorneys were once inolved in the defendents’ defense?

Holder was also instrumental in Clinton’s pardon of the Puerto Rican terrorists.

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Scott: I don’t know what a “9/11 Truther” is.

I don’t understand how Scott could have avoided this theory.

Scott: I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

I find this a quite damning statement. Thousands of innocent Americans experienced horrifying deaths. And Scott doesn’t care who was responsible. He doesn’t seek justice for the dead, the wounded, their loved ones, the American people.

Scott: We have much bigger problems right now than rehashing yesterday’s news. The military commissions were a bad, and frightening idea. The military cannot be trusted with them (see my suspension letter).

This appears to be an anti-military ideologically based statement which may explain much of Scott’s attitudes and actions.

Loxodonta on November 25, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Mr. Morrissey had recieved an impressive amount of access to this gentleman, which speaks volumes for Ed as a fair man. That’s extremely high praised for anyone let alone a blogger from a crazed Rightwing site. Congratulations.

Cindy Munford on November 25, 2009 at 9:23 AM

+1

JetBoy on November 25, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Ed, you called him Fensterman a few times at the top.

I find it really strange that an attorney, whether currently representing or not, would go on the record and discuss these issues with you so openly.

The ACLU conspiracy theory just shows this guy is not all there. Where’s the proof.

Firefly_76 on November 25, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Cindy Munford on November 25, 2009 at 9:23 AM

Second that. Great work, Ed.

Firefly_76 on November 25, 2009 at 9:29 AM

It really is a gd country club down there.

Watch Crowder’s video about his Gitmo visit..

oldleprechaun on November 25, 2009 at 9:29 AM

Firefly_76 on November 25, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Ed did an update to correct the few times he got the name wrong.

amerpundit on November 25, 2009 at 9:29 AM

This trial is going to be the biggest fiasco in the history of the country.

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:30 AM

Lemme get this straight: KSM’s nephew has access to a DoD computer? Either that or someone does who would forward him the screenshot.

WTF?

Akzed on November 25, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Hey, Bill Ayers is allowed to fly commerical in and out of Washington DC so nothing surprises me anymore.

Caper29 on November 25, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Did he really go to the Air Force Academy?

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 9:31 AM

…speaks volumes for Ed as a fair man…

Cindy Munford on November 25, 2009 at 9:23 AM

Mega-Dittos.

Loxodonta on November 25, 2009 at 9:32 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less. We have much bigger problems right now than rehashing yesterday’s news

Again, let’s drop Fenstermoron in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. They can not care together.

amerpundit on November 25, 2009 at 9:32 AM

This interview is very telling on so many levels. Great work.

ORconservative on November 25, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Ed, great work. While I had been willing to believe this man was acting as John Adams did in his time as a patriot to defend the legal process, this line dashes all hope:

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

publiuspen on November 25, 2009 at 9:33 AM

The military defense attorneys, and the civilian attorneys they selected to assist them, have been heavily involved in violating these guys’ rights.

What rights? They’re not Americans accused of a crime.
They’re foreigners who engaged in acts of war against innocent American citizens (the very definition of terrorism).
They should have faced summary execution a long time ago.

single stack on November 25, 2009 at 9:34 AM

Who nominated him? I can only guess.

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM

That wrongdoing may not excuse the defendants’ misconduct, if any, but it has certainly fueled their anger against the United States government. By the way, are you aware that the United States Department of Defense has determined that my firm’s website is a “malicious website?” Mr. al-Baluchi informed me of this.

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

I don’t know what a “9/11 Truther” is. If you explain it to me, I’ll let you know if I’m one.

Ed, this attorney is exploiting your basic sense of decency and fair play, in what appears to be a successful attempt to use you and this blog in an orchestrated campaign to paint the 9/11 murderers — and their legal counsel — as victims of the U.S. government. By appearing reasoned, rational, and fair, you extend those qualities to this attorney as well. Some people’s dirty business you just don’t wade into, no matter how strongly you support “the notion that the detainees should get representation.” Let ‘em have their representation, but let’s not be a part of their orchestrated efforts to propagandize.

Rational Thought on November 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Great interview, but Im with those who commented before me that if he “doesnt know who attacked us on 9/11 and he doesnt care”, he’s a liar, fool and truther.

I dont trust a thing he says.

becki51758 on November 25, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Ed, your posting is very revealing. Thank you so much.

This lawyer’s calling is revealed by his own words, including:

I’m in this so that no other country or foreign people can ever say that no American stood in defense of these men.

Fortunately, for many others, life has a higher calling than trying to impress foreigners or limiting what other countries ‘say about us’.

Folks like Mr. Fenstermaker and Mr. Holder’s former firm are celebrated by the American Bar Association while that same ‘professional’ organization trashes conservative judicial nominees. That’s why I quit the ABA.

I hope Fenstermaker fails.

chaswv on November 25, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Great interview, but Im with those who commented before me that if he “doesnt know who attacked us on 9/11 and he doesnt care”, he’s a liar, fool and truther.

I dont trust a thing he says.

becki51758 on November 25, 2009 at 9:37 AM

I can’t crawl into the guy’s head, but I think he was saying that he didn’t care because he didn’t want to get off-track discussing his inability to defend detainees. Who attacked 9/11 isn’t really relevant to that discussion, and if he says too much then he could be hurting his clients, which would could result in a mistrial.

Proud Rino on November 25, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Great job, Ed! By this dog and pony show and the seals’courtmartial, Obama and his administration are showing their contempt for the Americans.

kingsjester on November 25, 2009 at 9:39 AM

You are a class act Ed.

Ever thought about buying the New York Times and running it as an objective paper of record? Shouldn’t cost more than a buck ninety, by now…

percysunshine on November 25, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Sorry, Mr. Fenstermoron will be too busy defending the people responsible for killing 3,000 innocent people.

amerpundit on November 25, 2009 at 9:27 AM

I think the other 200 Americans might take offense to you saying that…

BadgerHawk on November 25, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Rational Thought on November 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM

I disagree. Ed has very fairly offered Scott Fenstermaker an opportunity to explain himself, and in so doing, Scott has made many statements damning himself.

Loxodonta on November 25, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Ed, what a fascinating article…

I agree with many of my fellow HA posters, Fenstermaker’s failure to at least own up to the facts about who was responsible for 9/11 are very telling.

It doesn’t take a body language expert to figure out, there is something very slimy about this guy, and I don’t trust a word he says. His contempt for our government was very clear during the B’O interview.

TampaBayBull on November 25, 2009 at 9:47 AM

He came off as an even bigger jackas/s than he did on O’Reilly. I didn’t think he could top that level of douchebaggery, but he did. The guy is an idiot. He goes into his sob story about what he supposedly felt on 9/11. And yet, he couldn’t care less about who did the crime. Shameful.

Narutoboy on November 25, 2009 at 9:47 AM

He’s a lawyer… He’s had 3 years of grad school training on how to twist the truth on behalf of his clients… Bring a grain of salt for anything he says…

phreshone on November 25, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Ed did an update to correct the few times he got the name wrong.

amerpundit on November 25, 2009 at 9:29 AM

Sorry, didn’t see that.

Firefly_76 on November 25, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Fenstermaker in my personal opinion is the lowest form of douche bag scum on the earth.

Worth repeating.

crash72 on November 25, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Didn’t he get the memo from The One? America’s standing in the world has been restored.

bloggless on November 25, 2009 at 9:54 AM

I disagree. Ed has very fairly offered Scott Fenstermaker an opportunity to explain himself, and in so doing, Scott has made many statements damning himself.

Loxodonta on November 25, 2009 at 9:47 AM

I understand that, but where does one draw the line? If this guy isn’t unworthy of this kind of free publicity, than who the heck is?

Moving the trial to NYC was done so the Obama Justice Department and their far-left and Islamofascist allies could wage a propaganda war against G.W. Bush, specifically, and the United States military, generally. Don’t “interviews” like this help them in that effort?

Rational Thought on November 25, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Ed Morrissey: Doing the job the mainstream media refuses to do.

This is journalism. “Hey horse’s mouth, what’s the deal with abcxyz? I’ll publish your response in full, you know.”

Sekhmet on November 25, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Not entirely sure yet what Fenstermaker’s motives are, but he appears to be typical America hating liberal scum.

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less.

Consider that statement for a few moments.

I don’t know what a “9/11 Truther” is.

Lie. And why didn’t you google it before responding so you’d sound informed?

And he certainly has no qualms about abusing his power as a lawyer, such as here when he was rebuked for taking a school district to court for having the nerve to charge him $.25 for photocopying fees.

And here, he establishes his liberal bona-fides by admitting to developing his dislike of the US Gov’t while serving at the Air Force academy.

OK, so he’s an established liberal prick.

Fenstermaker worked with AG Holder’s firm, Covington and Burling, on the gitmo prisoners’ defense before Obama became President. Covington & Burling, and Fenstermaker are linked.

Finally, according to this case,(United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

November 3, 2009,) Fenstermaker has no standing to sue on behalf of detainees.

Is Fenstermaker simply an ambitious ambulance-chaser trying to make a name for himself by horning in on the Gitmo trials, or is he truly a committed liberal, or is he even in cahoots with Holder and Obama (he graduated Harvard Law School one year after Obama. It’s not inconceivable that they knew each other back then). In any event, Holder must know Fenstermaker, which means Obama knows of Fenstermaker.

Where does this leave us? Exactly where we started. The Attorney General of the US comes from the radical leftist law firm that has dedicated itself to defending Islamic terrorists. And the President of the United States purposely chose this AG, for this reason, and others. The Congress confirmed him, and the press white-washed him and obscured his radical ties.

Covington and Burling can’t be seen taking the lead here, but there’s every reason to consider that the defense and prosecution are in cahoots. We’re watching a carefully choreographed pas de deux.

Fenstermaker may be an evil POS, but he’s still a minor character. The main players have been in front of us all the time. You can find them in the White House.

JiangxiDad on November 25, 2009 at 9:57 AM

… Who attacked 9/11 isn’t really relevant to that discussion, and if he says too much then he could be hurting his clients, which would could result in a mistrial.
Proud Rino on November 25, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Since the venue is now a civil, not military, trial it’s fair to make this analogy to illustrate just how inept and unconscionable that statement was:

What if Johnny Cochran had said, “I don’t know who killed Ron and Nicole, and I don’t care“.

It’s clear to me that Scott not only has an agenda, but he’s incompetent – which would give the defendants another avenue on appeal. My lawyer sucked! I demand a new trial!

Buy Danish on November 25, 2009 at 9:57 AM

I have no idea who attacked the WTC, and couldn’t care less. -fenstermaker

fenstermaker couldn’t care less.

fenstermaker . . .what’s in a name?

fenster: noun Geology – an erosional break in an overthrust rock sheet, exposing the rocks that underlie the sheet.

Jihadis and their sympathizers are overplaying their hand. We’ll see who gets exposed for the unstable rot they are.

heroyalwhyness on November 25, 2009 at 9:58 AM

First of all, Scott Fenstermaker is an IDIOT and is looking for nothing more than his fifteen minutes.

Anyone who finds the personal, public and legal stance that these individuals are entitled to the rights of an American citizen is a TRAITOR and should be tried as an enemy combatant right along with his suposed clients.

This is so much smoke and mirrors to get us to stop talking about Health care Reform and cap and Tax

Wake up Sheeple.

screwauger on November 25, 2009 at 9:59 AM

Q: How is a Lawyer and a Sperm the same?

A: Both have a one in a million chance of becoming human beings.

pseudonominus on November 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I generally stopped posting comments on Hot Air some time ago. I justed figured that everything will get said anyway so why add another voice.

But I do want to say thanks to Ed for a great and comprehensive story. This is why I will not stop reading Hot Air.

sweeper on November 25, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Proud Rino on November 25, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Then wouldnt his best response be….I cant comment on that?

becki51758 on November 25, 2009 at 10:03 AM

These guys should be tried in Military Court because they are illegal combatants, not representing any nation. In fact they seek to destroy civilization. The civilian trial is a Show Trial. I don’t blame Scott for defending his clients, or himself. Sounds like a good lawyer and the Government was fearful he might get them acquitted in a civilian trail.
Again it is Show Trial. Giving fuel to Truthers and Horrorists.

Ed Laskie on November 25, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Ed,

Can you get this guy on TEMS? I think he’s be an interesting guest, to say the least. This could be your “Mike Wallace moment” with a guy a lot of us consider a real scumbag.

simkeith on November 25, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Idle curiosity…is the origin of the name Fenstermaker similar to the origin of Shoemaker? If so, what the hell is a fenster?

SKYFOX on November 25, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Comment pages: 1 2