Conservative Group’s Ad Hammers Holder on Detainee Lawyers
By Christopher M. Matthews | March 2, 2010 1:03 pm

Keep America Safe, the conservative non-profit founded by Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol, released a video Tuesday slamming Attorney General Eric Holder for not naming seven current Department of Justice attorneys who represented alleged terrorist detainees before joining the administration.

Set to foreboding music, the ad questions the loyalties of the so-called “Al-Qaeda Seven,” ominously depicted as seven shadowy figures standing in front of a background of jihadist images.

Keep America Safe employs several conservative supporters who support the terrorism policies of former President George W. Bush. The organization receives financial backing from Melvin Sembler, a conservative fundraiser. Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for Republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, also serves as a political strategist.

The 501 (c) group has been needling Holder on the issue for months after he disclosed that nine DOJ employees who previously represented detainees or who worked for organizations that advocate changes to terrorism policies. The names of two of the nine are already known; Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal formerly represented Osama bin Laden’s driver, and Jennifer Daskal represented detainees during her time at Human Rights Watch.

At a hearing in November, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, brought up Katyal and Daskal’s work on behalf of detainees and questioned Holder on the issue. Grassley asked for the names of the lawyers, along with any projects related to detainees they have worked on since joining the DOJ.

Holder declined to disclose the names of the remaining seven appointees, offering a talking point for Republicans. In response, Holder said that it was not uncommon for the Justice Department to hire lawyers who had worked for the other side, citing examples of lawyers in the Tax Division who had represented defendants in tax litigation against the DOJ.

The Keep America Safe video closes by showing a DOJ phone number and urging viewers to call the department and demand that Holder disclose the seven names.

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