Ginsburg made her remarks at an awards ceremony hosted by the Pro Bono Institute at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Blog of Legal Times reported Monday.
In her introduction of General Electric Co. General Counsel Brackett Denniston III, who was receiving an award, Ginsburg mentioned the attacks on lawyers who represented terrorism suspects.
Earlier this month, a nonprofit organization headed by Liz Cheney released an ad that attacked the lawyers for their prior representation, dubbing them the “al-Qaeda Seven.”
On Friday, Ginsburg said the ad reminded her of a similar situation in 2007. A Pentagon official in charge of detainee affairs, Charles “Cully” Stimson, expressed disappointment that lawyers from major companies including GE represented Guantanamo detainees.
“I remember speaking with Brackett about that situation, and he said, ‘Pro bono service and the rule of law are great traditions at GE, and we have no intention of changing our relationships with firms based on pro bono efforts in which they are engaged,’” Ginsburg said, according to BLT. “The truth is that justice is served when there is quality representation by lawyers for everyone.”
(Interestingly, two weeks ago Stimson was among the signatories of a statement decrying the attacks on DOJ attorneys who represented the terrorism detainees.)
Attorney General Eric Holder also defended lawyers who represent the “the unpopular” — such as Guantanamo Bay detainees — hailing them as “patriots” in a speech at the Pro Bono Institute on Friday.
“To suggest that the Justice Department should not employ talented lawyers who have advocated on behalf of detainees maligns the patriotism of people who have taken honorable positions on contested questions and demands a uniformity of background and view in government service from which no administration would benefit,” the statement said.
The statement is signed by a number of Bush administration officials, including former Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Peter Keisler, former U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia Chuck Rosenberg and former Associate White House Counsel Bradford Berenson.
Former Solicitor General Kenneth Starr and David Rivkin, the Deputy Director, Office of Policy Development during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, also signed on.
The statement notes that, “People come to serve in the Justice Department with a diverse array of prior private clients; that is one of the department’s strengths.”
The statement, authored by Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, also argues that detainees should have access to counsel and be afforded the right of habeas corpus.
“Good defense counsel is thus key to ensuring that military commissions, federal juries, and federal judges have access to the best arguments and most rigorous factual presentations before making crucial decisions that affect both national security and paramount liberty interests. To delegitimize the role detainee counsel play is to demand adjudications and policymaking stripped of a full record.”
One of the signatories was Charles “Cully” Stimson, a former Pentagon official who is now with The Heritage Foundation. Interestingly, Stimson in January 2007 commented in a radio interview that he found it “shocking” that a number of U.S. law firms had represented Guantánamo detainees, according to American Constitution Society blog. Stimson also suggested that some of the firms were not forthcoming about who was paying for the representation, telling Federal News Radio the firms should be pressed on the matter.
“Some will maintain they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving monies from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that,” Stimson said.
Below is the full statement written by Brookings Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes and the names of people who signed the statement:
“The past several days have seen a shameful series of attacks on attorneys in the Department of Justice who, in previous legal practice, either represented Guantanamo detainees or advocated for changes to detention policy. As attorneys, former officials, and policy specialists who have worked on detention issues, we consider these attacks both unjust to the individuals in question and destructive of any attempt to build lasting mechanisms for counterterrorism adjudications.
“The American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients is at least as old as John Adams’s representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston massacre. People come to serve in the Justice Department with a diverse array of prior private clients; that is one of the department’s strengths. The War on Terror raised any number of novel legal questions, which collectively created a significant role in judicial, executive and legislative forums alike for honorable advocacy on behalf of detainees. In several key cases, detainee advocates prevailed before the Supreme Court. To suggest that the Justice Department should not employ talented lawyers who have advocated on behalf of detainees maligns the patriotism of people who have taken honorable positions on contested questions and demands a uniformity of background and view in government service from which no administration would benefit.
“Such attacks also undermine the Justice system more broadly. In terrorism detentions and trials alike, defense lawyers are playing, and will continue to play, a key role. Whether one believes in trial by military commission or in federal court, detainees will have access to counsel. Guantanamo detainees likewise have access to lawyers for purposes of habeas review, and the reach of that habeas corpus could eventually extend beyond this population. Good defense counsel is thus key to ensuring that military commissions, federal juries, and federal judges have access to the best arguments and most rigorous factual presentations before making crucial decisions that affect both national security and paramount liberty interests. To delegitimize the role detainee counsel play is to demand adjudications and policymaking stripped of a full record. Whatever systems America develops to handle difficult detention questions will rely, at least some of the time, on an aggressive defense bar; those who take up that function do a service to the system.”
· Senior Fellow and Research Director in Public Law, The Brookings Institution
· Member, Hoover Task Force on National Security and Law
· Charles I. Francis Professor in Law, University of Texas School of Law
· Nonresident, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
· Associate Professor, Columbia Law School
· Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs
· Member, Hoover Task Force on National Security and Law
Two lawyers who represented Guantanamo Bay detainees, including a well-respected former U.S. Attorney, blasted Liz Cheney for an advertisement that questioned the loyalty of Department of Justice attorneys who represented alleged terrorists while in private practice.
Harry Schneider (Perkins Coie)
Harry H. Schneider and Thomas P. Sullivan criticized Cheney in an op-ed published in The Chicago Tribune Wednesday. The ad, which debuted at the beginning of March, was created by the group Keep America Safe, which is run by Cheney, the former vice president’s daughter. The ad referred to the DOJ lawyers as the “al-Qaeda Seven” and questioned their loyalty to the United States.
Schneider, a partner at Perkins Coie in Seattle, was part of the team representing Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s former driver, in the Supreme Court case habeus corpus case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Sullivan, a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois from 1977 to 1981. The Chicago lawyer, who frequently takes on pro-bono work and received The American Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, has represented several Guantanamo detainees.
“It is hard to imagine a more reckless charge. Well, on second thought, we can think of one. Her video is reminiscent of similar tactics used during one of the darker episodes in American history, when Sen. Joseph McCarthy charged that those who insisted on due process for anyone he accused must be a Communist sympathizer or a closet enemy of the U.S.,” the pair wrote.
Thomas P. Sullivan (Jenner & Block)
“We believe history will judge Cheney’s behavior as the equivalent of McCarthy’s,” they added.
Sullivan should know — in 1968, he helped represent, Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, a Chicago doctor who was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Stamler challenged the subpoena, filing a civil case, Stamler v. Willis, that challenged the constitutionality of the committee. The case, which was decided in favor of Stamler by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1969, helped end the House panel’s investigations.
Keep America Safe’s video on the Justice Department lawyers who previously worked on behalf of detained terrorism suspects has prompted quite a discussion, but John C. Yoo didn’t think the debate was necessary, reported the New York Times.
“What’s the big whoop?” said Yoo, the former DOJ Office of Legal Counsel official whose memorandums on torture and presidential power were used to justify controversial interrogation policies of the George W. Bush administration.
“The Constitution makes the president the chief law enforcement officer. We had an election. President Obama has softer policies on terror than his predecessor.
“He can and should put people into office who share his views,” Yoo told The Times. Once the American people know who the policy makers are, Yoo said, “they can decide whether they agree with him or not.”
The video aroused not only liberal outrage directed at the producers of the short film, but also division among conservative legal scholars, according to The Times. The video was produced by Keep America Safe, a conservative interest group in Washington, D.C., run by Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president.
Conservative members of the Federalist Society, the 25-year-old policy group devoted to conservative and libertarian legal ideals, have criticized the video, and said it violated the American legal principle that even unpopular defendants deserve a lawyer.
A letter issued by the Brookings Institution criticizing the “shameful series of attacks” on government lawyers was signed by several former Republican administration officials and conservative legal figures, including Kenneth W. Starr, the former special prosecutor, Charles D. Stimson, who resigned from the second Bush administration after suggesting that businesses might think twice before hiring law firms that had represented detainees, Peter D. Keisler, a former acting attorney general, and Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general.
Richard A. Epstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago who once taught Liz Cheney, said he found it “appalling” to see people equating work on detainee cases with a dearth of patriotism.
“You don’t want to give the impression that because you oppose the government on this thing, that means you’re just one of those lefties — which I am not,” he told The Times.
David M. McIntosh, a former member of Congress and a founder of the Federalist Society, agreed that a lawyer should not be judged by his clients, but he said it was legitimate to examine the agenda of the lawyers.
“Was the person acting merely as an attorney doing their best to represent a client’s case, or did they seek out the opportunity to represent them or write an amicus brief because they have a political or personal agenda that made them more interested in participating in those cases?” he said.
If the commitment to the cases is ideological, McIntosh said, it is reasonable to ask, “Is that the best attorney for the Justice Department?”
On The Daily Show on Tuesday night, comedian Jon Stewart took on the group that published an ad last week targeting Justice Department lawyers who previously represented Guantanamo detainees.
“Who’s in the al-Qaeda seven? It’s an innocuous question, like ‘who’s in the Jackson Five?’” joked Stewart.
Numerous top lawyers, including conservative former members of the George W. Bush administration, have denounced the ad put out by Keep America Safe, an organization founded by Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard.
Despite the tone of the advertisement, Keep America Safe maintains that it is not accusing DOJ lawyers of being disloyal and is concerned only about transparency.
“You would not believe how obstinate the Attorney General can be,” said Stewart, setting up a clip of former Attorney General John Ashcroft testifying about why he refused to turn over documents.
“We believe that to provide this kind of information would impair that ability of advice-giving in the executive branch to be candid, forthright, through and accurate at all times,” Ashcroft said in the clip.
“I’m sorry, that was the wrong Attorney General, that was John Ashcroft, back when transparency was the thing that abetted the enemy,” joked Stewart.
Stewart poked fun at complaints about the lack of transparency, noting that the names of the lawyers were all available online and just required someone to do the leg work.
“Ah-ha! So the names are out there, but not in list form! And doesn’t collating and alphabetizing distract Keep America Safe from their real job — of making Keep America Safe commercials?” Stewart said.
Author Marc Thiessen and Daily Show host Jon Stewart (Comedy Central).
The interview segment of the show featured former Bush administration speechwriter Mark Thiessen, author of the new book “Courting Disaster. How the CIA Kept America Safe and how Barack Obama is Inviting the Next Attack.”
Stewart and Thiessen spared over the ad, which Thiessen defended in his Washington Post column.
“Where was the moral outrage when fine lawyers like John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Jim Haynes, Steve Bradbury and others came under vicious personal attack?” Thiessen asked in the column. “Their critics did not demand simple transparency; they demanded heads. They called these individuals ‘war criminals’ and sought to have them fired, disbarred, impeached and even jailed. Where were the defenders of the ‘al-Qaeda seven’ when a Spanish judge tried to indict the ‘Bush six‘? Philippe Sands, author of the ‘Torture Team,’ crowed: ‘This is the end of these people’s professional reputations!’ I don’t recall anyone accusing him of ’shameful personal attacks.”
On The Daily Show, Thiessen tried to shoot down the arguments that lawyers have an obligation to defend even the worst criminals.
“John Adams actually represented people who had been accused of crimes. There’s a vast difference between representing someone who has been accused of a crime — everybody gets a lawyer under the Sixth Amendment if you’ve been accused of a crime,” said Thiessen. “The people in Guantanamo Bay have not been accused of crimes, they are being held as enemy combatants in a time of war.”
Stewart shot back, chiding Thiessen for having a selective memory about the history of terrorism in the U.S.
“It’s a very selective world that you live in, and it must be very lovely to live there, but things are not so clear cut,” said Stewart.
Thiessen complained at the end of the interview that he had not been given enough time to speak.
“I can’t get my points out on the air?” Thiessen said. “I think you’re talked right through me.”
The full unedited interview, which runs at almost a half hour, was posted online. But even after that period, Thiessen and Stewart we no closer than when they started.
“We’re not so different, you and I, except completely,” Stewart said.
Videos segment and of the interview, in three parts, are embedded below.
The Justice Department’s Information Service Center is experiencing a higher than normal influx of calls from people who want to complain about the government lawyers who previously represented Guantanamo detainees.
A screen shot from the advertisement put out by Keep America Safe attacking Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department.
When a Main Justice reporter called the number Tuesday, a DOJ operator who answered said it was one of the busier days in recent memory and that many callers referenced an advertisement put out by Keep America Safe, an organization founded by Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the center’s call volume.
Keep America Safe employs several conservative supporters who support the anti-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.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Liz Cheney slammed President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for their handling of terrorism related issues. Their latest attack revolves around DOJ’s refusal to disclose the names of seven lawyers at the Justice Department who previously represented terrorism suspects.
Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller told Main Justice that the letter that DOJ sent to Congress regarding the employees who previously represented Guantanamo detainees answered most of the questions.
Some liberal critics struck back at the ad, even calling the tactics “McCarthyism.”
“It’s not kind of like McCarthyism, it is exactly what Joe McCarthy did with his Communist witch hunts,” Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress told TPMmuckraker. “Cheney accuses the Attorney General of the United States of being a supporter of al Qaeda and running the ‘Department of Jihad,’” a reference to the Investor’s Business Daily editorial that is featured in the Cheney ad.
Miller declined to join such criticism, but said it is helpful to remind the public that terrorism suspects had been prosecuted in criminal court during previous administrations.
As Josh Gerstein wrote in Politico, the Bush administration did not tolerate a similar line of attack made by Defense Department detainee affairs chief Charles Stimson in 2007. He called for a boycott of law firms doing pro bono work for Guantanamo detainees. The Pentagon distanced itself from Stimson’s comments, writes Gerstein, “which were condemned by a broad array of voices in the legal community. Stimson eventually apologized and resigned a short time later.”
The “al Qaeda Seven” video released Tuesday has prompted quite a discussion.
(Keep America Safe)
Made by Keep America Safe, the conservative non-profit founded by Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol, the video released Tuesday slams Attorney General Eric Holder for not naming seven current Department of Justice attorneys who represented alleged terrorist detainees before joining the administration.
Here’s what some people are saying on the Web:
Smear Campaign. Over at the Washington Independent, Spencer Ackerman writes, “Grassley knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s taking one of the strengths of the American justice system — the fact that everyone is entitled to legal representation — and implying that it’s unseemly. It’s a testament to the weakness of his character that he will never forthrightly accuse these attorneys of what he’s implying — sympathy with accused terrorists — in a way that they could refute. What a pathetic excuse for a man. Those of us in the media have an obligation to call this smear campaign what it is.”
Holder is trying to hide something. Rich Trzupek of Big Journalism wrote, “The proposition that Holder’s attorneys should somehow be exempt from this kind of close examination, particularly when they are engaged in a war on terror that threatens our very way of life, is ludicrous.
“But then, the idea that we can prosecute that war effectively while treating terrorists to the legal niceties that one affords the local pickpocket is equally ludicrous. If Obama and Holder are determined to use the justice system to prosecute religious zealots bent on injustice, the least they can do is to ensure that the prosecutors involved in this quixotic effort have their heart in it. By refusing to even name the Al Qaeda 7, much less address their qualifications and motivations, Obama and Holder have demonstrated once again that national security won’t stand in the way of political correctness in this brave new hopey/changey era. It won’t be long, I fear, before we will pay the price their spectacular naiveté.”
There is no ethical breach. NYU law professor Stephen Gillers told the TPMmuckraker that “It is not a conflict of interest under the rules of any U.S. jurisdiction for a government lawyer who has represented detainees in private practice to work on detainee issues at the Justice Department.”
“They, and a lawyer who has represented detainees, can work in the same field for government so long as they stay away from the specific matters on which they worked in private life,” Gillers added.
But we can’t really know that. A poster at National Review OnlineDaniel Foster said he doubted that DOJ attorneys are subject to ethics and disclosure rules as required.
“Of course, the issue of whether the unnamed attorneys are acting ethically can’t even be properly posed until we know who they are,” Foster wrote.
Listen to the United States Supreme Court. On Think Progress, a liberal blog supported by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Faiz Shakir wrote, “Many on the right have conveniently neglected to mention that the United States Supreme Court sided with the Obama attorneys. One of the targeted attorneys is Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, the lawyer who won Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case that struck down the Bush administration’s military commissions system. Another target, Justice Department lawyer Jennifer Daskal, had signed her name to an amicus brief in the Boumediene v. Bush case arguing that Gitmo detainees be accorded habeas corpus rights to challenge their convictions. The Supreme Court sided with Daskal’s position.
“So the bottom line is that, having been on the losing side of these Supreme Court decisions, the right wing has decided to continue its vindictive fight by smearing the lawyers who prevailed in their advocacy for the rule of law.”
Foxes guarding the hen house.David Davenport of the Hoover Institute said in an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle that conflicts of interest is not the only problem. “Second is the appearance of bias or an agenda, that the hens have taken over what is supposed to be the foxes’ den. The Department of Justice is supposed to be prosecuting terrorists, not coddling them. What are we to think if the organized crime unit brings in nine mob lawyers? At least one of these nine was with a human rights advocacy group and has no prosecutorial experience. For an administration that preaches pragmatism and not ideology, it’s at least a question mark, if not a black mark.”
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.
Dick Cheney made a surprise appearance at CPAC, where his daughter slammed DOJ's handling of terror trials (photo by Ryan J. Reilly).
Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said this afternoon that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder want to give terrorists rights they don’t deserve. She spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and then introduced her father, who made a surprise appearance.
The younger Cheney runs Keep America Safe, a political action group that supports the continuation of the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration. She slammed the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, to try self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in civilian court and to read Miranda rights to the for alleged Christmas Day airplane bomber.
“If you’ll notice, the White House likes to make [Guantánamo] announcements late at night when there are other things going on,” Liz Cheney said.
Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney at CPAC (photo by Ryan J. Reilly).
“That’s not change we can believe in, that’s not change the American people voted for, and it’s time for the American people to stand up and take this country back,” she said Cheney.
“This is not rocket science. My 9-year old daughter Grace asked me, ‘Is President Obama really trying to bring terrorists into the United States?’ I said ‘yes, unfortunately, he is’ and she said, ‘man, use your brain, dude, that’s totally stupid,’ ” Cheney told her conservative audience.
“President Obama and Attorney General Holder don’t get it, and it’s time for Congress to act,” she said. “A wise man wouldn’t fret over whether a terrorist was read his Miranda rights.”
In his remarks, Dick Cheney said he believed Obama would be a one-term president. He did not touch specifically on Justice Department-related issues.
On the heels of an ad critical of the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder put out by a group led by Liz Cheney, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, a human rights group is hitting back with a parody video that accuses Cheney’s group of using scare tactics.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department is using new media tools to argue in favor of using the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists.
“As a counter-terrorism tool, the criminal justice system has proven incredibly effective in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from and about terrorists,” writes Tracy Russo on the DOJ blog. “In every instance, the administration will use the tool that is most effective for fighting terrorism, and will make those decisions based on pragmatism, not ideology.”
Attorney General Eric Holder attended the State of the Union last night (White House photo).
Although the economy was the principal focus of Wednesday night’s State of the Union speech by President Obama, the president, with Attorney General Eric Holder looking on, did mention that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is “once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination.” And the president also noted that Congress last year enacted hate crime legislation.
“We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.
“We must continually renew this promise. My Administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws — so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work. And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system — to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations.”
Main Justice interviewedThomas Perez, head of the Civil Rights Division, last week.
“Certainly from the division’s perspective we appreciated it,” Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli told Main Justice about the mention of the divison. “It spotlighted the important work that they’re doing. We have in the 2010 budget the opportunity to bring on new employees to increase the focus on civil rights.” (Updated 6:07 p.m.).
President Obama also spoke about combating terrorism:
Since the day I took office, we’ve renewed our focus on the terrorists who threaten our nation. We’ve made substantial investments in our homeland security and disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives. We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence. We’ve prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. And in the last year, hundreds of al Qaeda’s fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed — far more than in 2008.
But the president did not touch on the chief criticisms of the Justice Department from Republicans: the decision to hold a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City, close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and give Miranda rights to the attempted Christmas day bomber. In delivering the Republican response to the speech, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell hit on their main points:
Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit. This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence. As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.
Another Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama hit on the same theme: “One of the biggest headlines from last night’s speech is what the president did not say: a single word about the botched interrogation of the Christmas Bomber and his quest to provide foreign terrorists with the same legal rights as the Americans they target,”Sessions said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, released an advertisement through her organization, Keep America Safe, that criticizes the Justice Department and Holder.