Memo to right-wing media: Bush DOJ lawyers also represented terror suspects

››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

Conservative media figures have recently attacked President Obama and the Department of Justice for employing lawyers who previously represented terror suspects or supported their legal arguments in their private practices. However, Bush administration lawyers also reportedly represented Guantánamo Bay detainees before working for the Justice Department.

Right-wing media attack Obama, DOJ for hiring lawyers who have represented terror suspects

Hannity: "If you're going to work in our Justice Department ... and you represented Al Qaeda, I want to know who you are." On the March 3 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity said of current Justice Department lawyers who previously represented or advocated for terror suspects, "They represented Al Qaeda. Now they work for us," and later said, "If you're going to work in our Justice Department ... and you represented Al Qaeda, I want to know who you are." Hannity later stated, "Obama is weak. He's an appeaser. Obama is making this country and every citizen vulnerable to attack."

Cupp: "These are people" who "make their bread and butter defending terrorists." On the March 3 edition of Hannity, Fox News contributor S.E. Cupp said, "If what these guys are doing is so great and they're so proud of it, then why can't they tell us who they are? I think they're -- the silence is a tacit admission that they're not doing -- that they're something controversial." Cupp later said, "These are people who specifically make their bread and butter defending terrorists."

Hoft: "Call Eric Holder ... and tell him advocates for terrorist detainees do not Keep America Safe." In a March 3 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft promoted a video attacking Holder and wrote, "Call Eric Holder ... and tell him advocates for terrorist detainees do not Keep America Safe." Hoft also referred to the Justice Department attorneys as "terrorist attorneys."

Krauthammer calls DOJ hirings "very troubling." On the March 2 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said, "These people chose to do, for free, defense work for people in Guantánamo, for people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who not only was the architect of 9-11, but he boasts of slitting the threat of Daniel Pearl." Krauthammer then said of Attorney General Eric Holder, "He's choosing at least nine people who chose that this is the work they are going to do on the side. That tells you there is some ideological affinity here." Krauthammer continued, "And that's very troubling, because it tells you why the Justice Department has ended up with some of the absurd decisions it's made in the war on terror."

Hannity asks Romney if Holder has "put this country at risk." On the March 2 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity asked guest Mitt Romney, "We find out that [Holder] hired, what, nine lawyers that were representing the guys we're holding -- the terrorists we're holding in Gitmo. You think he has put this country at risk? Has he made it less safe for the average American?"

But Bush DOJ also hired lawyers who represented terror suspects

FoxNews.com: "Obama Administration is not the first to hire lawyers who represented or advocated for terror suspects." In a March 3 article about lawyers currently working for DOJ who previously represented or advocated for terror suspects, FoxNews.com reported that "[t]he Obama Administration is not the first to hire lawyers who represented or advocated for terror suspects." From the FoxNews.com article:

A day after a conservative group released a video condemning the Justice Department for refusing to identify seven lawyers who previously represented or advocated for terror suspects, Fox News has uncovered the identities of the seven lawyers.

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.

[...]

The Obama Administration is not the first to hire lawyers who represented or advocated for terror suspects.

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.

"Varda has spent over 500 hours in the past year fighting to bring due process to our clients," a firm newsletter said in 2006.

Fox News figures previously suggested DOJ lawyers sympathize with terrorists

Fox & Friends' Doocy wonders if DOJ lawyers are "sympathetic to the Al Qaeda cause." During the February 22 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy stated of the Justice Department lawyers, "And the argument continues, you know, if they represented these guys, are they sympathetic to the Al Qaeda cause?"

Crowley says DOJ is "relatively stocked" with "terrorist sympathizers." During the February 23 edition of America Live, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley stated, "[I]t seems that we have a DOJ that is relatively stocked with what could be assumed to be terrorist sympathizers, because if you think enough of these Guantánamo Bay detainees to represent them, what does that tell you about where these people are coming from?" Host Megyn Kelly subsequently stated, "[Y]ou can argue that's what you get paid to do. Argue both sides," and asked, "Is there evidence here of the couple he -- we know of, they're true believers. They're not soulless lawyers. They actually believe that these terrorist suspects down in Gitmo are the wronged parties." Crowley responded: "Exactly right. We're talking about some very far-left activists here who have taken on the cause of these Guantánamo Bay detainees as a cause célèbre, as a legal cause célèbre."

Malkin suggests DOJ has "jihadis' best interests ... at heart." During the February 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin stated, "It raises all sorts of conflicts of interest questions, and, more importantly, national security questions." She continued: "I think that the American people have a right to know whether the people who are working for them in the government are people who have the jihadis' best interests, and not our best interests, at heart." Doocy responded that the attorneys would probably say they are not sympathetic to the terrorism suspects.

Fox Nation: "Department of Jihad?" The Fox Nation featured the headline "DOJ: Department of Jihad?" and linked to an Investor's Business Daily editorial. The IBD editorial stated:

The Justice Department employs nine lawyers previously involved in the defense of terrorist detainees. This is a colossal conflict of interest. Just whose side are they on?

From the Fox Nation, accessed February 25:

Fox Nation: Department of Jihad?

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Detention
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Gateway Pundit
Person
Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer, S.E. Cupp, Jim Hoft
Show/Publication
Hannity
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.