Video: Liz Cheney’s group goes after DOJ lawyers who defended Gitmo detainees

posted at 10:26 pm on March 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

Byron York’s been writing about this lately. There are nine lawyers now employed at the DOJ who helped defend Gitmo detainees but Holder will only release the names of two of them, leaving Congress in the dark about potential conflicts of interest. That’s ostensibly the target of this new spot from Liz Cheney’s outfit, Keep America Safe, but they end up going further than York or even the GOP has. Here’s York:

As the GOP sees it, there are two issues involved. The first is the nature of the Justice Department lawyers’ work on behalf of detainees. Republicans aren’t questioning whether terrorist detainees are entitled to attorneys; the courts have said they are, so they have attorneys. The question is whether those very lawyers should then turn around and handle detainee issues for the Justice Department.

Private lawyers can choose to take or not take cases. Sometimes they make their decisions based on money, sometimes on principle, sometimes because they are sympathetic to the accused. The lawyers who worked with the terrorist detainees chose to represent people who are making war on the United States. That’s certainly their right, but it’s entirely reasonable to ask whether they should now be working on detainee issues at the Justice Department.

Conflicts of interest are perfectly fair game for inquiry, but as you’ll see, the clip isn’t as broad-minded as York is in its treatment of possible motives for representing detainees. In fact, Morris Davis, who used to be chief prosecutor at Gitmo before resigning over his objections to waterboarding and the commission system generally, went ballistic over it:

“This is the typically regressive fear tactic that you expect from anybody named Cheney,” said Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at the Bush era military commissions, who has been a critic of the commission system…

Neal Katyal, who Davis faced off with in the Hamdan case, “was a very talented and dedicated attorney – he ws the perfect choice for [his position as deputy Solicitor General,” said Davis. “To try to impugn his character or iimply he’s part of the ‘Al Qaeda Nine’ or whatever is just outrageous.”

“Back in the 18th century after the Boston Massacre, we provided a zealous defense [to British soldiers], and a lot of people there have the same view,” he siad.

Katyal isn’t part of the “Al Qaeda 7” referenced in the clip because he’s been named by Holder, but the implication clearly is that the ones who haven’t are being protected because they’re jihadist sympathizers. That’s … quite a charge. In fact, since we don’t know who they are, we don’t know if their clients were Al Qaeda or Taliban or some sort of loosely affiliated or unaffiliated jihadi snagged on the battlefield. So what’s with the “Al Qaeda 7” bit?

None of this is an argument for Holder not to disclose the names — if he’s willing to own up on Katyal, he should disclose the rest to put public suspicions at ease — but I’d prefer to apply pressure to the feds without kinda sorta hinting that they’re in cahoots with Bin Laden. And yeah, no need to tell me in the comments that I’m a Chamberlain-esque RINO. I know.

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Glad to see the spirit of the late senator from Wisconsin is alive and well in the Republican party.

Tom_Shipley on March 3, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Nice try, Lib whiner. You don’t know the first thing about the late Senator from Wisconsin, other than your “fascist, Nazi, McCarthyite” Democrat talking points.

Jaibones on March 3, 2010 at 10:01 AM

The fact remains that Holder IS stonewalling. ‘Bout time someone had the guts to call him out on it. Bravo, Liz!

indypat on March 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM

What if there were nine former mob lawyers?

Also, pro bono publica or whatever means for the public good.

Defending enemy combatants free of charge is good for what part of the public?

Akzed on March 3, 2010 at 10:39 AM

I would be inclined to give the Holder and these lawyers the benefit of the doubt except for one thing.

Holder has proven that he is not worthy of getting the benefit of the doubt.

MarkTheGreat on March 3, 2010 at 10:43 AM

I find it funny that conservatives always defend Yoo. You know he basically said that, echoing Nixon, if the president does it, it’s legal.

Yeah, because the counter argument was “Oh the President’s powers under the US Constitution, as commander-in-chief and head of state, were limited by a committee of diplomats in Germany expanding on the definition of coercion banned by treaties we’d signed, so, waterboarding is torture.”

You haven’t answered JohninCA’s point: should KKK defense lawyers be hired to serve on the EEOC?

Chris_Balsz on March 3, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Holder has proven that he is not worthy of getting the benefit of the doubt.

MarkTheGreat on March 3, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Remember when the onus was on a government employee to earn your respect, instead of on the citizen who dared be so fringe as to doubt the honor and integrity of a government lawyer?

Chris_Balsz on March 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

You haven’t answered JohninCA’s point: should KKK defense lawyers be hired to serve on the EEOC?

Akzed on March 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Voluntarily pro bono. They weren’t conscripted into it, and now Holder won’t tell congress which ones did it! Why not?!?!?!

Akzed on March 3, 2010 at 10:51 AM

The ABA Model Rules deal with conflicts of interest. I find it hard to believe lawyers at the DOJ would ignore the obvious conflicts which would arise if one were to defend someone and then be charged with their prosecution. These attorneys are not rookies.

MajorKong on March 3, 2010 at 10:59 AM

This is our government. We pay for it. Unless there are secrets that involved the security of the United States, I see no sustainable argument to justify concealing these names from the citizenry. This administration wonders why the trust of the American people has been slipping away and this is but one example.

allstonian on March 3, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Allah, I have a two word reply to you: Lynne Stewart

There’s lots more where she came from.

Even RINOs read the news once in a while, right?

theCork on March 3, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Doesn’t “Al Qaeda” mean “the group” in Arabic?
FloatingRock on March 2, 2010 at 11:23 PM

“The Base.”

anuts on March 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Isn’t there one or two reporters that could sit outside the DOJ building and take photos of everyone going in and out of the parking lot? Then identify the lawyers? That is what the left did with the lawyers and CIA Agents that questioned the terrorists.

How about a couple of retired folks in the DC area who can send the photo’s to Liz?

Remember the left then showed the photos to the terrorists to ask who and then released the photos of the CIA Agents.

barnone on March 3, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Will she go after Rudy 91ul1ani too?

Here’s what I think about this broad’s “Keep America [Un]Safe” PAC:

“Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.”
–General John Stark

You neoclowns just can’t hump the anti-liberty, big government security state enough, can ya?

I, for one, can’t wait for the impending economic collapse that will, at long last, kill the glorious Welfare-Warfare State here in the U.S.S.A.

Rae on March 3, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Rae on March 3, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Thank you for writing that. I hope all of your future posts are just insightful and informative.

/ (did I need that?)

strictnein on March 3, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Hey Rae. There’s probably a blog dedicated entirely to Fight Club. You should look into it.

MajorKong on March 3, 2010 at 5:48 PM