Fox News has identified the seven anonymous Justice Department lawyers who previously represented Guantánamo detainees or terrorism suspects.
Justice Department spokesman Matthew A. Miller confirmed the names to Fox News’ Mike Levine, but did not say whether any of the seven previously anonymous lawyers now work on issues related to Guantánamo detainees.
“Each of the nine people referenced in the letter filed legal briefs that are available by using something as simple as Google,” Miller told Fox News. “We will not participate in an attempt to drag people’s names through the mud for political purposes.”
Miller said “politics has overtaken facts and reality” in the battle over the lawyers’ identities. (Full statement below)
The current Justice Department employees who previously represented Guantánamo detainees or terrorism suspects are:
- Tony West, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division.
- Jonathan Cedarbaum, of the Office of Legal Counsel.
- Eric Columbus, senior counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.
- Karl Thompson, of the Office of Legal Counsel.
- Joseph Guerra, Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General.
- Tali Farhadian, an official in the Office of the Attorney General.
- Beth Brinkmann, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division.
Two other DOJ lawyers — Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and National Security Division Attorney Jennifer Daskal – also formerly represented detainees, but their identities had already been known.
In response to the DOJ confirmation, Keep America Safe spokesman Aaron Harison said the organization still wants information on which of the lawyers works on detainee issues within the DOJ.
“The American people have a right to know whether lawyers who voluntarily flocked to Guantanamo to take up the cause of the terrorists are currently working on detainee issues in President Obama’s Justice Department,” Harison said. (Full statement below)
Details about the DOJ lawyers’ involvement in Guantánamo detainee cases are available in the article, which also points out that the Justice Department hired several lawyers who represented Guantánamo detainees during the George W. Bush administration.
Main Justice’s previous coverage of the controversy:
- DOJ Info Center Swamped With Calls After Cheney Ad Released
- Spokesman: Ad Only Questioning Pro Bono Lawyers
- Around the Web: Reaction to Cheney Video
- Conservative Group’s Ad Hammers Holder on Detainee Lawyers
- GOP: Holder “Intentionally Evasive” on Lawyers with Detainee Ties
Miller’s full statement:
“On February 18, the Department sent a letter to Senators about political appointees who were involved in detainee-related litigation before joining the Department. As the letter stated, Department attorneys are subject to ethics and disclosure rules as required under both Department guidelines and the administration’s own ethics rules, which are the strongest in history.
“In the time since we sent that letter, politics has overtaken facts and reality. Each of the nine people referenced in the letter filed legal briefs that are available by using something as simple as Google. The names the Department is being asked to disclose are already in the public record, and can be easily found by anyone.
“We will not participate in an attempt to drag people’s names through the mud for political purposes. One of the hallmarks of our nation’s legal system is that attorneys provide faithful representation to all sorts of clients. As John Roberts said at his confirmation hearings, it is wrong to identify lawyers with the client or the views the lawyer advances for the client, and our history is replete with such examples, from John Adams representing British soldiers to Department of Defense JAG lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees. Department of Justice attorneys work around the clock to keep this country safe, and it is offensive that their patriotism is being questioned, just as it was offensive when people questioned the patriotism of JAG lawyers representing detainees or the Supreme Court Justices who, by majority votes, ruled in favor of detainees in cases during the previous administration.”
Keep America Safe spokesman Harison’s full statement:
“Today, after much public outcry, the Department of Justice finally and reluctantly disclosed the names of the Al Qaeda Seven. We regret that they still refuse to tell the American people whether any of these lawyers are currently working on detainee issues inside the Department. The American people have a right to know whether lawyers who voluntarily flocked to Guantanamo to take up the cause of the terrorists are currently working on detainee issues in President Obama’s Justice Department. Attorney General Holder’s assertion that hiring former terrorist lawyers is just like hiring lawyers who used to defend white collar criminals demonstrates once again that, despite the President’s rhetoric, the Obama Administration does not understand the dangers of treating terrorism like a law enforcement matter.”
This story has been updated.