Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Veins in his forehead.

Bodenner: Narrative Fail

While the Cheneys are busy making scary YouTube videos, Obama continues to execute the war on terrorism:

The Pakistani Taliban confirmed Tuesday that a senior commander wanted in the deadly 2006 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi was killed in a suspected American missile strike in northwestern Pakistan.


Guess someone at the CIA or Pentagon didn't get [Cheney's memo that the president is "trying to pretend we're not at war".] There has been a grievous failure to "connect the dots" here: despite overwhelming evidence from Fox News, Mr Cheney, Liz Cheney, Scott Brown and furious other torture supporters, the president, the military and the intelligence services seem not to have understood that they're supposed to think we're not at war. We risk a major attack on cherished narratives if this kind of complacency keeps up.

Elliott (TPM): Anatomy Of A Smear: Cheney Attacks DOJ Attorneys As Terrorist-Friendly (VIDEO)

An attack on Justice Department officials who previously represented detainees at Guantanamo was spawned by Sen. Chuck Grassley at a hearing last November, ricocheted around the right-wing media, and culminated today in a video release by Liz Cheney's group that all but accuses the lawyers of being terrorists.

The campaign-style ad from Cheney's Keep America Safe dubs the lawyers "the Al Qaeda Seven" and asks, "Whose values do they share?" while flashing a picture of Osama bin Laden. (Watch it below.)

At issue are DOJ lawyers who, before they joined the administration, represented detainees at Guantanamo, filed amicus briefs in detainee-related cases, or were involved in advocacy on behalf of detainees.

The names of two of the officials, Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and National Security Division Attorney Jennifer Daskal are known. But Republicans have seized on the fact that the DOJ isn't releasing the names of seven other officials who fit that description. Thus, the "the Al Qaeda Seven."

The critics are not only questioning the loyalty of top lawyers in the Obama Administration, but are also attacking the age-old and thoroughly American practice of lawyers defending clients with whose ideology they may not agree (see Adams, John).

Katyal represented Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver, in the landmark case that led to the overturning the Bush Administration's military commissions. As senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, Daskal worked on detainee issues.

A professor at Georgetown, Katyal became one of the most celebrated young lawyers in the country after arguing -- and winning -- the Hamdan case before the Supreme Court.

The attack began at a Nov. 18 Judiciary Committee hearing. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, raised the issue with Attorney General Eric Holder, asserting that Katyal and Daskal have a conflict of interest. A couple weeks later, Grassley and the other committee Republicans asked the DOJ to produce a list of names of officials who previously worked with detainees. The department responded Feb. 18 with a letter from one of Holder's deputies that said nine officials fit Grassley's criteria. But the letter did not give the names.

The Republicans reiterated their demand for a list of names in a new letter on Feb. 26.

In the meantime, the interest in the story heated up in the right-wing media and spilled over into the mainstream. The Washington Examiner's Byron York seized on the DOJ's response to Grassley. National Review and the Weekly Standard got on the case. Michelle Malkin raged at "Corruptocrat AG Eric Holder." Investor's Business Daily published an editorial titled "Department of Jihad."

Finally, on Feb. 26, ABC picked up the story.

Today, the Web ad from Keep America Safe, which Liz Cheney founded as an outlet to advance her agenda last October, was featured on Politico. The Weekly Standard blogger Michael Goldfarb, who works at lobbying firm Orion Strategies and is also Keep America Safe's spokesman, told Politico: "Holder has hired lawyers who used to represent terrorists to work in President Obama's Justice Department, and he won't tell the American people who they are."

Despite the heated rhetoric (Grassley claimed that the DOJ officials' past work "creates a conflict of interest problem"), a legal ethics expert tells TPMmuckraker that there is no ethical breach.

"It is not a conflict of interest under the rules of any U.S. jurisdiction for a government lawyer who has represented detainees in private practice to work on detainee issues at the Justice Department.," Stephen Gillers, a professor at NYU Law school, said in an e-mail.

"Under U.S. legal ethics rules in every state, this is no different from hiring an antitrust lawyer, a criminal defense lawyer, or an environmental lawyer from private practice to work in the same general area of law for the government," Gillers said. "They, and a lawyer who has represented detainees, can work in the same field for government so long as they stay away from the specific matters on which they worked in private life."

The Justice Department said in its letter to Grassley that political appointees recuse themselves from particular cases in which they were previously involved.

Judiciary Committee Democrats have so far been silent on the issue. Press secretaries for several top Judiciary Dems did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But some liberals who work on national security issues are outraged.

"It's not kind of like McCarthyism, it is exactly what Joe McCarthy did with his Communist witch hunts," Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress tells TPMmuckraker in an e-mail. "Cheney accuses the Attorney General of the United States of being a supporter of al Qaeda and running the 'Department of Jihad,'" a reference to the Investor's Business Daily editorial that is featured in the Cheney ad.

Watch the ad below:

Bodenner (Daily Dish): John Adams And The "Gitmo Nine"

A reader writes:

Whenever I read about Cheney and her ilk's galling demands that the government abdicate due process of law because they're more frightened of people in caves than our forebears were of the Soviet Union or Axis powers, I always think of John Adams and the Boston Massacre. I can only imagine what would be said today of someone who defended alleged terrorists if they were to run for high office. Adams' infamy over defending, and winning, a case for the hated British was eventually seen for what it was: a defense of liberty.

I couldn't find a clip of the courtroom scene from John Adams, the HBO miniseries, but the speech above hits all the right chords. And below is a diary entry of Adams recounting his feelings about defending the eight British soldiers - murder suspects that no other lawyer in Boston would represent. It's a must read for anyone interested in learning from a true Tea Party patriot:

Before or after the Tryal, Preston sent me ten Guineas and at the Tryal of the Soldiers afterwards Eight Guineas more, which were. . .all the pecuniary Reward I ever had for fourteen or fifteen days labour, in the most exhausting and fatiguing Causes I ever tried: for hazarding a Popularity very general and very hardly earned: and for incurring a Clamour and popular Suspicions and prejudices, which are not yet worn out and never will be forgotten as long as History of this Period is read...It was immediately bruited abroad that I had engaged for Preston and the Soldiers, and occasioned a great clamour....

The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.

This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.

Marshall: Spy Vs. Spy
You'll remember that Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) has pursued what can only be called a fairly anti-Muslim line during recent years in the United States Congress, culminating in her recent call to investigate Muslim "intern spies" operating on Capitol Hill. So you had to know it was going to be a raucous evening when she held a townhall meeting with the Muslim community in Charlotte last Thursday. Audio included.
Marshall: The Horror
First Shelby. Now Bunning. I don't know what the pithy way to phrase it is. But somehow the Democrats need to capture for people that the true horror of Republican rule would be every couple weeks having some cranky, seventy-something guy from the South pulling a freak out, screaming at the country to get off his lawn and shutting down the government until the veins in his forehead de-bulge.
Speaking of veins and foreheads . . .
C&L: Rush Limbaugh Compares Nancy Pelosi to a Terrorist

Ed Schultz calls out Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck for their hate filled rhetoric in this edition of Psycho Talk.

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