It keeps coming back to the same disturbing question: whose side is the Obama administration on?
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. "To the best of our knowledge,"
during their employment prior to joining the
government, only five of the lawyers who serve as political appointees in those
components represented detainees, and four others either contributed to amicus
briefs in detainee-related cases or were otherwise involved in advocacy on
behalf of detainees.
Holder says other Obama appointees, like Holder himself, came from law firms
which represented detainees but did no work on behalf of the terrorist
prisoners. But other than Katyal and Daskal, Holder does not reveal any names of
any Obama appointees, nor does he mention the cases they worked on.
And what are they recused from, anyway? Very little. Holder writes that
Katyal has not worked on any Guantanamo detainee matters but has participated in
litigation involving detainees who continue to be detained at Bagram Airfield,
Afghanistan and in litigation involving [Ali Saleh Kahlah] al-Marri, who was
detained on U.S. soil." As for Daskal, "she has generally worked on policy
issues related to detainees," Holder writes. "Her detainee-related work has been
fully consistent with advice she received from career department officials
regarding her obligations."
As for everyone else, Holder lists no names and no cases, but in a paragraph
filled with modifiers, he makes it clear that all the lawyers who had advocated
for detainees are free to work on general detainee matters.
Read it all.
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