by Chris Bodenner

Mike Potemra makes a valid point:

But there is also a very serious policy dispute here, about how our government should treat those accused of terrorism. If Justice Department nominees have a view on that that is highly controversial, this is a perfectly legitimate area of inquiry. Even the issue of potential conflict of interest can be raised, without its being an instance of mere guilt by association. Look at it as analogous to the case of a former lawyer for polluters being hired by the EPA: His prior work is not prima facie evidence that he wants to act as a covert agent for polluters in his new job, but it is not illegitimate or unreasonable to ask what his personal views on the issue are, and what that means for his work at the EPA. I have a visceral distaste for the complex of attitudes that are referred to by the shorthand term “McCarthyism.” But sometimes tough, pointed political questions can be not McCarthyism, but a legitimate call for transparency.

Senator Grassley's request for names - which were just uncovered by Fox News - may indeed be a good-faith demand for transparency. As Adam Serwer notes:

[Grassley] argued that "this prior representation creates a conflict-of-interest problem for these individuals." Holder said he would consider Grassley's request and assured him that "we're very sensitive to that concern and mindful of it, and people who should not participate in certain decisions do not do so."

So getting those names could ensure that Holder sticks to that standard. Nevertheless, Grassley's rhetoric is still a far cry from the disgusting insinuations of Liz Cheney, the Washington Times, and Potemra's colleague, Andy McCarthy. Now that they have their names, what next?

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