Holder Wants KSM To Go Free

Dahlia Lithwick on the AG's testimony before Congress:

What Holder could not possibly answer for today was the claim that his Justice Department ostensibly wants to help the terrorists. This is hardly a new trope. But today offered a new twist: Holder was called out for harboring just such terror-lovers as, well, himself. Grassley demanded that Holder explain the presence in the solicitor general's office of Neal Katyal, who represented Osama Bin Laden's driver at the Supreme Court. Grassley used a smear from the New York Post (penned by the writer who ridiculously claimed Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh believed "Sharia law could apply to disputes in US courts") to demand that Holder account for Jennifer Daskal as counsel in its National Security Division, who allegedly wants terrorists to have more time to write poetry. Grassley demanded that Holder produce a list of DoJ appointees who have ever acted as lawyers for terror detainees.

Then John Kyl, R-Ariz., read from an editorial suggesting that the reason these detainee trials have been so long delayed is all the "leftist lawyers" who stalled the military commissions by challenging them in the courts. Kyl noted many of those lawyers--including Holder--work for the Justice Department despite the fact that Holder's firm, Covington & Burling, "volunteered its services to at least 18 of America's enemies in lawsuits they brought against the American people." Remember in 2006 when the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, Cully Stimson, had to resign his position at the Pentagon for urging U.S. corporations to boycott any law firm that defended terror suspects? Apparently those law firms are still un-American, and anyone associated with them should be barred from DoJ. (The subtext for much of this criticism, as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., observed, is that all these lawyers are somehow in it for the money.)

You read something like this, and as fucked up as this sounds, you start to doubt the actual intelligence of folks. If no one reps these people, the legal system fails. Right now, there's a woman, in North Carolina, who evidently tried to sell her kid into slavery. I hope she gets competent counsel. And then I hope the prosecutor kicks the shit out of her and puts her in jail for the rest of her life. Somehow--much like KSM--I think she's facing worse.

Seriously though, why even have a tribunal? Why not just shoot them all?

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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