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So we have to rely on Bush administration officials to strenuoulsy defend Obama DOJ appointees against the McCarthyite smears coming from the Cheney crowd.

A former Justice Department official who led the Bush administration’s courtroom defense against lawsuits filed by Guantanamo detainees is denouncing attacks on Obama administration appointees who previously helped such prisoners challenge their indefinite detention without trial.

Peter D. Keisler, who was assistant attorney general for the civil division in the Bush administration, said in an interview that it was “wrong” to attack lawyers who volunteered to help such lawsuits before joining the Justice Department.

“There is a longstanding and very honorable tradition of lawyers representing unpopular or controversial clients,” Mr. Keisler said. “The fact that someone has acted within that tradition, as many lawyers, civilian and military, have done with respect to people who are accused of terrorism – that should never be a basis for suggesting that they are unfit in any way to serve in the Department of Justice.”


This week, the conservative group Keep American Safe, which is led in part by Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and by Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, had released a political video attacking the Obama administration for concealing the identity of those it called the “Al Qaeda Seven.”

“Whose values do they share?” a voice asks over images of seven silhouettes superimposed on Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. “Americans have a right to know the identities of the Al Qaeda Seven.”

The Keep America Safe video led to widespread discussion in the blogosphere, with some critics likening it to McCarthyism. Mr. Keisler did not use that term. But he strongly defended the lawyers who were once his opponents in litigation.

As volunteer lawyers for the detainees, he said, “they were asserting the position that there should be more judicial review of the circumstances of that detention – a position the Supreme Court ultimately agreed with. And it’s wrong to suggest that people who took that position are somehow sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

We are still not seeing significant pushback from any elected Dems on this. The lack of a massive fight back against this crap from the Cheneyites just generates more crap, as documented by Glenn:

The last thing I would ordinarily do is watch a Wolf Blitzer broadcast, but I knew that this was going to be a heinously illustrative episode in modern political journalism -- at best the vile campaign was going to be presented in the standard "each-side-says" format which defines modern journalistic "objectivity" -- but it was far, far worse than even I expected.  Blitzer first teased the segment as this on-screen logo appeared, taken directly from the Cheney/Kristol ad: "HAPPENING NOW: DEPT. OF JIHAD?"

The next time he teased the story, CNN flashed this logo -- "Al Qaeda 7?" -- also taken directly from the Cheney/Kristol ad, as Blitzer explained that numerous Justice Department lawyers have been "accused of disloyalty" by a national security organization headed by Liz Cheney.  The final Blitzer tease came as these words were flashed on the screen:  "Are Justice Dept. lawyers disloyal?"

So Liz Cheney gets to get on TV any time she feels like and spew her vile McCarthyism, calling Obama officials traitors to America because of their efforts to uphold the constitution. Who is going to start answering it?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:00 AM PST.

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