After delivering a speech today on combating ISIS and winning the war on terror, Hillary Clinton will head off to a fundraiser in New York City — but it might have some negative impact in New Hampshire, at least among NFL fans. The law firm organizing the fundraiser, John DiStaso reports for WMUR, conducted the investigation into “Deflate-Gate,” the scandal involving the New England Patriots that almost found its star quarterback benched for the first four games this season. Will Pats fans and Tom Brady supporters in the Granite State throw a flag on this play?
The law firm whose report led NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Tom Brady for four games (since overturned in court, of course) is hosting a fundraiser Thursday afternoon in New York City. The guest of honor: Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, of course, is a former U.S. senator from New York. We’ve never heard her espouse her football loyalties (except for backing a resolution honoring the New York Giants after they beat the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl).
The fundraiser is being held at the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, in the Big Apple, with the cost per person at $2,700.
The firm was hired by the NFL to conduct the investigation into the alleged improper deflation of footballs used in the AFC championship game last Jan. 18.
The author of the report, Theodore V. “Ted” Wells, is a partner and co-chairman of the firm’s Litigation Department and, of course, authored the Wells Report, which contained words that will live in infamy in these parts: “More Probable Than Not.”
Less strangely, and perhaps much more worrisome is the connection Paul, Weiss et al have to the issue of Guantanamo Bay detainees — and security issues it allegedly created while representing them. Adam Kredo at the Free Beacon recalls those allegations from a decade ago, and also the long history between the Clintons and the law firm:
The firm has been at the center of efforts to free Guantanamo inmates and in 2006 was responsible for causing a “serious breach of security” at the prison camp when it was caught sending Arabic-language literature that encouraged prisoners to claim they were being tortured, according to reports.
The 18-page brochure, produced by Amnesty International, reportedly “portrayed America and its allies as waging a campaign of torture against Muslims around the globe,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
It was discovered in the cell of a former inmate, Majeed Abdullah Al Joudi, an accused al Qaeda member who was freed from the prison in 2007 and sent to Saudi Arabia.
Once security personnel at the prison discovered the brochure, Al Joudi claimed that his lawyer, Julia Tarver Mason, a Paul, Weiss partner, had sent it to him. An investigation determined that the brochure was passed to at least a dozen other inmates, constituting what the camp’s former commander, Jay Hood, called a “serious breach of security.”
The investigation further discovered that Mason had mailed the brochure to inmates using a privileged document categorization that prevents security personnel from screening the mail, a potential violation of a law that prohibits lawyers from providing clients with information pertaining to military operations and current events.
It’s worth noting at this point that the law firm settled the issue in 2006 and were recertified by the DoD shortly afterward. The analysts at Above the Law wrote five years ago that the allegations were mainly carried by conservatives and might have been exaggerated, but that they still had a point:
One can see both sides here. On the one hand, giving clients a publicly-available brochure produced by a major human-rights organization doesn’t seem that problematic. On the other hand, it may have violated a federal judge’s order …
One can then argue, of course, that the protective order was too restrictive. Lawyers who have represented Guantanamo Bay detainees have talked before about the need to build trust with their clients, sometimes by discussing news events with them.
(But if the Paul Weiss lawyers had issues with the order, perhaps they should have taken them up with Judge Green. And the Amnesty brochure may have been just the type of communication the protective order was aimed at. According to an Islamic cultural adviser to Major General Hood, the publication “was highly inflammatory” and “would cause a negative reaction, especially amongst the more hard-core terrorist factions within the camp.”)
Paul, Weiss has another connection to US security issues. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson was a partner at the law firm before serving as general counsel for the Department of Defense, and again between that stint and his nomination to his current Cabinet post. Assuming that Obama’s dream of closing Gitmo comes to fruition before the end of his term, Johnson will at least have some impact on how and where those transfers to US soil will go, which gives Paul, Weiss a pretty valuable ally on the issue.
It might be fun for an enterprising journalist to pin Hillary down on Deflate-Gate. It would be much more instructive to hear from Hillary about her plans for Gitmo, given this rather interesting alliance, and how that balances out with her supposed get-tough stance laid out today on the war on terror. Given the track record of her benefactors today, this seems rather … amusing:
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) November 19, 2015