Friday, February 19, 2010

Holder Admits To Nine Obama DOJ Officials Who Advocated For Terrorist Detainees

This was Holder's official non answer to a question posed by GOP Senator Chuck Grassley last November:

Attorney General Eric Holder says nine Obama appointees in the Justice Department have represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining the Justice Department. But he does not reveal any names beyond the two officials whose work has already been publicly reported. And all the lawyers, according to Holder, are eligible to work on general detainee matters, even if there are specific parts of some cases they cannot be involved in.

Holder's admission comes in the form of an answer to a question posed last November by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. Noting that one Obama appointee, Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, formerly represented Osama bin Laden's driver, and another appointee, Jennifer Daskal, previously advocated for detainees at Human Rights Watch, Grassley asked Holder to give the Senate Judiciary Committee "the names of political appointees in your department who represent detainees or who work for organizations advocating on their behalf…the cases or projects that these appointees work with respect to detainee prior to joining the Justice Department…and the cases or projects relating to detainees that have worked on since joining the Justice Department."

In his response, Holder has given Grassley almost nothing. He says nine Obama political appointees at the Justice Department have advocated on behalf of detainees, but did not identify any of the nine other than the two, Katyal and Daskal, whose names Grassley already knew.

Not only that, but there wasn't even an attempt to make a complete list of jihadi advocates in the Obama justice department. Holder stated explicitly that he didn't bother to survey the entire Justice Department but just took a cursory look at a couple of large offices within the organization.

And while Holder attempts to make the point that these lawyers could recuse themselves from working on terrorist cases, in reality the only cases they would have to avoid working on are cases specifically about their own clients.

But as Holder himself admits, the same lawyers who worked on cases to free Gitmo jihadis could work on cases involving other jihadis held in other locations. And because almost all the same arguments and precedents and legal points carried in those case will apply directly to the ongoing conflict of interest as the same lawyers work to push policies that will get their other clients out of jail.

But let's not question their patriotism or how serious their commitment to US security is, shall we?

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