Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thiessen falsely claims all Senate Judiciary Republicans echoed Cheney's DOJ attack ad

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen falsely claimed that "all the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee" were asking questions similar to those posed by Liz Cheney's controversial ad campaign attacking Justice Department attorneys who previously represented terrorism detainees. In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham -- a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee -- has joined numerous conservatives in criticizing the ad's attacks.

Thiessen: "All the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee" echoed attacks on DOJ lawyers

From the March 9 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show:

STEWART: Boy, this is all just bubbling up. This whole Keeping America Safe with Liz Cheney's group; you wrote an editorial, basically -- I don't want to put words in your mouth, but you felt that Liz Cheney was being unfairly maligned by these people attacking these ads.

THIESSEN: Absolutely. I mean, I think she raises a legitimate question. And it's not just her. It's the -- all the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. If a mob lawyer was hired to -- if a bunch of mob lawyers were hired to handle mob cases in the Justice Department, it would be a legitimate question to ask who are they, who did they represent, what cases are they involved in?

Graham -- Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- has criticized Cheney's ad

Graham reportedly said the ad was "inappropriate and unfairly demonized DOJ lawyers for doing a noble public service." Josh Rogin reported in Foreign Policy's The Cable blog:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services and Judiciary Committees, told The Cable Tuesday that the Cheney-Kristol ad was inappropriate and unfairly demonized DOJ lawyers for doing a noble public service by defending unpopular suspects.

"I've been a military lawyer for almost 30 years, I represented people as a defense attorney in the military that were charged with some pretty horrific acts, and I gave them my all," said Graham. "This system of justice that we're so proud of in America requires the unpopular to have an advocate and every time a defense lawyer fights to make the government do their job, that defense lawyer has made us all safer."

Rogin further reported: " 'I'm with Kenneth Starr on this one,' Graham added, referring to a letter signed by several GOP lawyers, many of whom defended Bush-era detainee policies, condemning the 'al Qaeda 7' ad."

Conservatives and former Bush officials have condemned attacks on the lawyers as "shameful" and "wrong"

Conservatives have condemned Cheney's attacks on DOJ lawyers as "shameful." Former Bush administration officials Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and former acting Attorney General Peter Keisler, as well as attorneys who dealt directly with detainee policy signed a letter stating that the attacks on the Justice Department lawyers are "shameful" and that the attacks "undermine the Justice system." The New York Times reported on March 4 that Keisler, "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." Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (subscription required) that it is "wrong to criticize attorneys who represent alleged terrorists." In addition, former Bush administration lawyer John Bellinger said of the attacks on the DOJ lawyers, "I think those sorts of cheap shots suggesting that a lawyer who is simply defending a client somehow shares those views are -- really are inappropriate."

Sessions reportedly called ad "over the top and unjustified." Foreign Policy's Rogin further reported, "Even senior Republicans who agreed with the ad's criticism of Holder's appointment of the lawyers said that the ad was beyond the pale." Rogin then quoted Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying, "An ad that says it's the Department of Jihad is over the top and unjustified."

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