As noted yesterday by Jim, many organizations and bloggers have been demanding transparency from the Executive Branch concerning Justice Department lawyers, hired by Attorney General Eric Holder and predecessors, who have represented terrorists in civil or military courtrooms. Fox News now has the list.
At this point, the names on the list are not as important (to me) as the fact the Executive Branch was virtually opaque – the opposite of transparent – when it comes to providing information on individuals tasked to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
Two questions must be answered. First, of the total number of lawyer tasked to “keep this country safe” at the Department of Justice (DOJ), how many of them represented terrorists in the past? Second, what is their position in the hierarchy at Justice in relation to their ability to set policy and manage others?
Question one is valid since we currently have no reference as to the … I’ll use the term infiltration percentage just to tick off some lefties. If 10 percent of the top lawyers at justice were involved, that would be much different than 1 percent. The level of anger from many will be directly related to that percentage so we need to know.
This answer may help DOJ Spokesman Matt Miller sell his case that the attempts by Keep America Safe, Michelle Malkin, Jim Hoft, and Pamela Geller (among others) are political posturing, designed to drag well-intentioned patriots through the swamp. (Update: Hoft writes again on the subject.)
The second question is much more important. If the percentage of lawyers is low, we must know how much influence they have in the DOJ. If the appointee does not manage policy or have direct reports it would be much different than a high-ranking official who frequently has the ear of Holder.
Granted, Holder is a problem on his own, but that’s for another post.
Finally, (OK a third question) with so many lawyers to choose from, why choose from the ranks of professionals like the ones we read about in the Fox News exclusive (written by Mike Levine) who have represented terrorists? These representatives are tasked with protecting us from harm for goodness sakes.
The piece does answer some questions concerning the lawyer’s influence by revealing their title. Plucked from the Fox News piece, here are the nine and their titles.
- Jonathan Cedarbaum, Karl Thompson – Officials with the Office of Legal Counsel
- Eric Columbus, Senior Counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General
- Joseph Guerra, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General
- Tali Farhadian, Official in the Office of the Attorney General
- Beth Brinkmann, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Division
- Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division
- Neal Katyal, Principal Deputy Solicitor General
- Jennifer Daskal, National Security Division Attorney
The titles – to me at least – do seem to reflect the ability to set policy and influence others at Justice, but I’ll avoid the political quicksand and reserve judgment on fitness to serve simply because I don’t know enough about them and I know little to nothing about the organization structure at DOJ.
Some careful readers may have noted I put “keep this country safe” in quotes above and there is a reason. Back to the Fox News article, with my emphasis in bold.
The names were confirmed by a Justice Department spokesman, who said “politics has overtaken facts and reality” in a tug-of-war over the lawyers’ identities.
“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.
How dare Miller complain when the Department of Justice, Eric Holder and members of Congress continue to threaten CIA intelligence officers with criminal charges when their only concern was to keep this country safe and stay out of the limelight while doing their job.
How dare he.
I find it hilarious Miller mentioned the nine could be easily found with a Google search. I guess Fox News was the only one who thought of that. Hummmmmmm.
“Each of the nine people referenced in the letter filed legal briefs that are available by using something as simple as Google,” he said. “We will not participate in an attempt to drag people’s names through the mud for political purposes.”
I noted that Holder’s predecessors – yes, those in the Bush administration – also hired lawyers who represented terrorists. Fox News notes them at the end of the piece.
Pratik Shah, an assistant to the Solicitor General hired by the Bush Administration, was part of the WilmerHale team that put together arguments for the Boumediene v. Bush case.
Trisha Anderson, an adviser in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who was also hired by the Bush Administration, was previously an attorney at Attorney General Eric Holder’s former firm, Covington & Burling, where she helped represent 13 Yemeni detainees.
Varda Hussain, an attorney hired in 2008 with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, was an associate with the Washington-based firm Venable when she helped represent three Egyptians being held at Guantanamo Bay.