Yesterday, a conservative group run by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney released a political ad accusing seven lawyers within the Department of Justice of being un-American because they advocated for detainees held in Guantanamo.
Today, the names of those lawyers were revealed by a spokesman for the Justice Department who said politics had “overtaken reality” in questioning the virtue of military lawyers for defending the rights of prisoners of war.
“Department of Justice attorneys work around the clock to keep this country safe, and it is offensive that their patriotism is being questioned,” said Justice Department Spokesman Matt Miller.
And who is questioning the lawyers’ patriotism? To start with, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has been demanding for months that the names of DoJ lawyers who defended terror suspects be revealed.
“The administration has made many highly questionable decisions when it comes to national security, ” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a recent statement, arguing that the public has “a right to know who advises the Attorney General and the President on these critical matters.”
According to a Fox News report, most of the lawyers had relatively “minor roles” in defending detainees before being appointed to the Department of Justice. Those “minor roles” included filing briefs that advocated for protection of detainees’ rights. Specifically, that they should be allowed a trial at all.
One of the lawyers, Tony West (shown above), represented “American Taliban” Johh Walker Lindh for several years as part of a San Francisco law firm. West is now the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
He and the six other lawyers were dubbed the “Al-Qaeda 7” in a video released this week by Keep America Safe, a conservative organization headed by Dick Cheney’s daughter Elizabeth and pundit Bill Kristol.
The group released the video after the Department of Justice refused to release the names because it “will not participate in an attempt to drag people’s names through the mud for political purposes. “
If nothing else, the ad achieved its intended effect of galvanizing many Americans to fear lawyers trying to defend human rights. After it was aired, the Department of Justice was flooded with calls complaining about their political appointments.