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Latest Conservative Smear Calls Justice Dept. Lawyers Terror-Sympathizers

In the latest bit of brazen slander from the right, Republican Senators are trying to invent a scandal about Justice Department lawyers who — horror — represented Guantanamo detainees. You know, provided the representation that the Rehnquist and Roberts Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled those detainees are entitled? And which even the military commissions provide for? Instead, there’s this McCarthyite tactic of calling Justice Department lawyers the “Gitmo Nine,” a name that oh-so-cleverly suggests that those lawyers were themselves detained at Guantanamo. From the Washington Times:

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is rightly unhappy that the Justice Department won’t divulge the names of the nine Justice Department lawyers who directly represented suspected-terrorist detainees, or their cases. Grassley identified two himself, Neal Katyal (an aside: Katyal is a very impressive guy and very charming and level-headed) and Jennifer Daskal.

There’s absolutely nothing “hidden” about this; it’s a pure smear job. Daskal, a former Human Rights Watch attorney, is so committed to hiding her representation of Guantanamo detainees that it’s on her Wikipedia page. And Katyal, the deputy solicitor general whom even this Washington Times bottom-feeder has to concede is a talented attorney, very publicly represented Salim Ahmed Hamdan and took his case to the Supreme Court, which promptly struck down the first phase of the military commissions. There is not a shred of a legitimate issue here, just pure innuendo.

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.

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