I’m sure everyone has heard of the brouhaha over Liz Cheney’s remarks and her organization, “Keep America Safe,” running posting a YouTube video referring to DOJ lawyers who formerly represented Gitmo detainees or criticized the Bush Administration’s Gitmo policies as “The Al Qaeda Seven” and flashing a headline reading “DOJ:  Department of Jihad?”

A spokesman for Keep America Safe, Aaron Harison, has now drawn a distinction between pro bono counsel and judge advocates who represented Gitmo detainees in military commission hearings, as reported by the Main Justice blog here.

As a former Chief Defense Counsel of the Office of Military Commissions, I’m sorry that Mr. Harison separated me from the pro bono lawyers.  I proudly stand with them against Keep America Safe’s demagoguery.

11 Responses to “Pro bono Gitmo lawyers – bad; Military Gitmo defense counsel – not morally reprehensible”

  1. Anon2 says:

    Thank you for joining us back with the pro bono lawyers. Keep America Safe’s distinction between civilian pro bono lawyers and military judge advocates who represent detainees is driven merely by a reflexive desire to seem patriotic by supporting the military. It is entirely divorced from respect for the Constitution and due process – concepts which BOTH military defense counsel and pro bono lawyers stand for in representing detainees.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Her comments reminded me of the comments a few years back from a current caaflog commentator, Cully Stimson, which I believe cost him his DOD job.

  3. Southern Defense Counsel says:

    Well said, Col Sullivan. Our profession faces perhaps its greatest threat from these types of attacks. In some ways the pro bono attorneys are more deserving of praise because they cannot hide behind the “I was ordered to defend this dirtbag” defense (not that I am claiming that any military counsel would say such).

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m not even sure military counsel are “ordered” to defend detainees. I know I was asked if I wanted to participate, and I declined (not because I didn’t think it worthy but because I was still relatively new defense counsel and wanted more CM experience), and the person who said yes, was also given the option to do it or not.

    But as others have said, this “distinction” is all about not being anti-military.

  5. Anonymous says:

    These Cheney, tea-bagging, right- wing hypocrits want nothing but power to rule and brutalize the world and the path to power is to paint those who follow American ideals as unpatriotic traitors. Sadly, they’ll get their following to a scary degree.

  6. Some Army Guy says:

    I already miss the thumbs-down.

  7. Steve Dallas says:

    Some Army Guy,

    I know what you mean. Was this thread the cause for removing our ability to give a thunms up/down? If so it is the ultimate in censorship. I mean we were already unable to rate Mr. Sullivan’s posts, now I cannot even give props or negs to the other folks. Talk about un-American. No-Man, please don’t respond with the typical “Start your own blog” response, I seen it too many times.

  8. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Mr. Dallas, your comment demonstrates that you’re quite capability of bestowing “negs” without the ambiguous short-hand of a thumbs down. I can only assume that your post was meant to be arch.

  9. Anonymous says:


  10. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Mr. Dallas- your post illustrates exactly why we eliminated the thumbs. Their purpose was to hide objectionable, ie patently offensive comments, not to disagree with the commenters political views or legal analysis. That fact may have been confusing to those that were not commenting when the thumbs up/down were added. Feel free to continue to express your disagreement in the comments in a civilized manner. As for your baiting me to state the obvious . . . that is one of my core competencies.

  11. No Man says:

    Found these on AJC, not much to give thumbs down to here:

    “While it’s legitimate for the public to inquire about the past work of DOJ political appointees, we need to recognize that our judicial system cannot function without pro bono counsel, and it doesn’t make a lawyer less patriotic just because he or she has represented a criminal or terrorist suspect,” former [George W. Bush appointed] U.S. attorney and homeland security adviser Kenneth Wainstein told the Washington Post. “It’s beyond a cheap shot to suggest that a lawyer is an al-Qaeda sympathizer because he advocates a detainee’s position in the Supreme Court,” said former Bush White House lawyer Reginald Brown.