Thursday, March 04, 2010

Attorney General Holder Names DOJ Appointees Who Defended Detainees

For some time there has been a request for Attorney General Eric Holder to name his appointees to the Department of Justice who previously worked on the defense of detainees held at GITMO. Recently, the information has been demanded more strenuously by Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who declared, "The administration has made many highly questionable decisions when it comes to national security."

A video is going viral on the Internet produced by Keep America Safe, a group led by Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol and Debra Burlingame. This is it:

Predictably, the Obama administration loyal are outraged that this subject is in the news. Holder has now brought forward the names of the "Al Qaeda Seven" and Fox News has provided a little background on each of them. As Holder wrote to Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, "all Department appointees understand that their client is the United States" and voiced opposition to any questioning of patriotism. Fair enough. But, the troubling part is from the video itself, which is comprised entirely of Holder's own words. From previously delivered speeches, Holder declares that this administration is bringing progressives back to the White House and they are bringing along those who are of like minds. "The pendulum is starting to swing" and "we're going to be looking for people who share our values." Those quotes come from the video and the question is - what values are being referred to by Holder? The conclusion made by many conservatives is that the Holder Department of Justice intends to firmly bring back the operations of treating terrorist detainees as criminals, not the enemy.

We've been down this road before and it led to the attacks of 9/11/01.

I have no problem with our system of justice that extends the opportunity to defendants the support of attorneys. Whether in criminal court or in a military tribunal, this is the standard. What is troubling, however, is the number of attorneys brought into the department who have voluntarily defended detainees. Should this many now be present and working in the department tasked with so many detainee cases? It is a reasonable question.

It is also reasonable for Senators to ask the identity of the attorneys. No hesitation seems to be made in recent years to expose the identity of those normally afforded the security of anonymity - such as CIA officers in the field - yet Holder said he wouldn't allow these names to be "dragged through the mud". That is quite a telling opinion. And, why is stating names "dragging them through the mud"?
What is being hidden? If nothing, terrific. But going on the defensive seems odd.

So, under pressure as the story is reported in a growing number of publications, and with the video on the Internet attracting so much attention, the Department of Justice responds. Too bad the administration that boasted of being the "most transparent" administration - ever - once again isn't. After releasing the names of two attorneys, Holder has now done the same with the other seven

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