Liz Cheney Was Right About The Al-Qaeda Seven At The DOJ

Liz Cheney has made an issue of the fact that the Department of Justice has hired a number of lawyers who’ve defended Al-Qaeda.

Predictably, liberals and some conservative lawyers have gotten upset with Cheney. What’s the conservative lawyers’ beef? Since everybody has a right to counsel, they believe whom a defense attorney represents has no bearing whatsoever on : his character. Now, personally? While I don’t necessarily think a lawyer is a sleazebag for defending a bad guy, I don’t think it’s irrelevant either.

Would you want a mob lawyer working at the DOJ? How about someone who specialized in getting rapists off the hook? How about Lynne Stewart, who represented Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and aided him in carrying out terrorist attacks? Are there any Lynne Stewart types working at the DOJ? Nobody knows and that’s the point Liz Cheney is making. From Marc Thiessen’s column in the WAPO:

…Attorney General Eric Holder hired former al-Qaeda lawyers to serve in the Justice Department and resisted providing Congress this basic information. In November, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Holder a letter requesting that he identify officials who represented terrorists or worked for organizations advocating on their behalf, the cases and projects they worked on before coming to the Justice Department, the cases and projects they’ve worked on since joining the administration, and a list of officials who have recused themselves because of prior work on behalf of terrorist detainees.

Holder stonewalled for nearly three months. Finally, two weeks ago, he admitted that nine political appointees in the Justice Department had represented or advocated for terrorist detainees, but he failed to identify seven whose names were not publicly known or to directly answer other questions the senators posed. So Keep America Safe, a group headed by Liz Cheney, posted a Web ad demanding that Holder identify the “al-Qaeda seven,” and a subsequent Fox News investigation unearthed the names. Only under this public pressure did the Justice Department confirm their identities — but Holder still refuses to disclose their roles in detention policy.

…Yet for raising questions, Cheney and the Republican senators have been vilified. Former Clinton Justice Department official Walter Dellinger decried the “shameful” personal attacks on “these fine lawyers,” while numerous commentators leveled charges of “McCarthyism.”

Where was the moral outrage when fine lawyers like John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Jim Haynes, Steve Bradbury and others came under vicious personal attack? Their critics did not demand simple transparency; they demanded heads. They called these individuals “war criminals” and sought to have them fired, disbarred, impeached and even jailed. Where were the defenders of the “al-Qaeda seven” when a Spanish judge tried to indict the “Bush six”? Philippe Sands, author of the “Torture Team,” crowed: “This is the end of these people’s professional reputations!” I don’t recall anyone accusing him of “shameful” personal attacks.

The standard today seems to be that you can say or do anything when it comes to the Bush lawyers who defended America against the terrorists. But if you publish an Internet ad or ask legitimate questions about Obama administration lawyers who defended America’s terrorist enemies, you are engaged in a McCarthyite witch hunt.

Under Obama, people like John Yoo who worked to help protect America from attacks are the bad guys while lawyers who defended terrorists are hired and shielded at the DOJ. That tells you a lot about just how backwards the priorities of the Obama Administration are when it comes to the war on terror.

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