For several months Sen. Charles Grassley has loudly called for Holder to release more information about Department of Justice attorneys who, before entering government service, had provided legal representation to military detainees. Grassley's effort was backed by former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, Liz, when a group she helps lead released a scathing YouTube video tagging the DOJ attorneys the "Al Qaeda Seven." At yesterday's oversight hearing, Grassley again sought to wrench more information from Holder about the attorneys.
But Holder pushed back. "There has been an attempt to take the names of the people who represent Guantanamo detainees and to drag their reputations through the mud," Holder said. "There were reprehensible ads in essence to question their patriotism. Their names are out there now. I'm simply not going to be a part of that effort. I would not allow good, decent lawyers who have followed the best traditions of American jurisprudence ... I will not allow their reputations to be besmirched. I will not be a part of that."
Stein reported that Holder's defense was applauded by Committee member Sen. Richard Durbin, who said, "I think you are standing up for a very fundamental principle and rule of law here that goes back to John Adams."
Cheney's YouTube ad ignited a backlash, with prominent Republicans weighing in against the attacks. Former Independent Counsel Kenneth Start blasted the attacks on the DOJ attorneys as "shameful. For more on the matter, see ACSblog posts here.