November 20, 2009

IS IT OUR JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OR AL QAEDA'S?:

EDITORIAL EXCLUSIVE: On terrorists, Justice recused (THE WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/20/09)

The Obama Justice Department is having problems prosecuting terrorist cases because top department attorneys have conflicts of interest. [...]

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, made waves Nov. 18 when he demanded that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. provide a list of all the suspected-terrorist detainee cases from which current Justice Department political appointees have had to recuse themselves. The extent of the conflicts at the department is still unclear. [...]

This is an important topic. Even if each official who did prior work on detainee cases has indeed properly recused himself from those cases while at the Justice Department, there could be such a large number of affected officials that the department's prevailing ethos could be tilted strongly in the detainees' favor. Mr. Grassley's inquiry is pressing because it could ferret out any instance in which a department official should have been recused but wasn't.

When the senator publicly requested information from Mr. Holder, the attorney general merely promised to "consider" the request. After some hemming and hawing and dodging, Mr. Holder eventually said he needed to make sure there was no "attorney-client privilege" involved before disclosing the list of recusals. This is absurd. Attorney-client privilege may extend to the substance of lawyers' discussions with detainees, but not to the mere question of whether the lawyers are doing such work.


So the UR's Justice Department is too closely tied to the enemy to try them?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2009 5:38 PM
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