Jennifer Rubin follows up on her May cover story for THE WEEKLY STANDARD (titled, "Gen. 'Stonewall' Holder") with this email:
In May I reported on my FOIA efforts, largely thwarted by Justice Department stonewalling, to determine which Justice attorneys who previously represented terrorists had recused themselves from representing the American people now that they have hopped over to the government's side. On Thursday I received a belated response from the Department of Justice's National Security Division. The FOIA officer states that there is a single document responsive to my request. An email confirming the recusals and potential conflicts of interest for Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Civil Division (whose conflicts I detailed in my May story), was produced.
This means that National Security Division's Jennifer Daskal, the controversial attorney who formerly represented al Qaeda terrorists, has not recused herself, at least not in any official manner, from any matter involving al Qaeda terrorists. Earlier this year Andy McCarthy reminded us:
Daskal is a left-wing activist who advocated on behalf of al Qaeda prisoners while serving as the "counterterrorism counsel" (yes, counterterrorism) at Human Rights Watch. She has, for example, claimed that KSM may not be guilty of the unspeakable acts he can’t stop bragging about because, after all, Bush may have tortured him into confessing. She lamented that another detainee, "a self-styled poet," suffered abuse in U.S. custody when he 'found it was nearly impossible to write poetry anymore because the prison guards would only allow him to keep a pen or pencil in his cell for short periods of time.” And she has been a staunch supporter of the terrorist detainee Omar Khadr, who was 15 when he allegedly launched the grenade that killed U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer. Daskal frets that a prosecution would violate Khadr’s “rights as a child.” Khadr recently turned 23.
Has Daskal violated her ethical obligations to avoid conflicts of interest? Has she provided former clients with the grounds for challenging their convictions? Maybe after November, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Jeff Sessions and his House counterpart Lamar Smith can explore these and other questions.