Friday, May 01, 2009

Former DOJ Official Declines Holder’s Invitation

For eighteen years, Andrew McCarthy was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He was in charge of the prosecution of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven other terrorists in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. McCarthy’s currently a fellow at the National Review Institute. You can read more about him here.

McCarthy’s just sent Attorney General Eric Holder a letter which begins - - -

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants—or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.”

I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States).

Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues.

I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. (bold added)

Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.

Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct.

Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government. …

I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade. …

There’s a lot more in McCarthy’s letter. It’s a must read.

What will happen as a result of what President Obama’s doing to our national security apparatus?

IMO Tigerhawk, who also posted on McCarthy’s letter, has the answer - - -

In light of the demonization of the OLC lawyers and the interrogation consultants to the CIA who somebody in the federal government outed yesterday, people are learning that it is very dangerous to help the United States fight a war. Barack Obama, and the rest of us Americans, had better hope that he never needs help from rough men who stand ready in the night.

Hat tip: Instapundit