The "Al Qaeda 7" ad put out by Liz Cheney's group, Keep America Safe, quickly drew fiery criticism from liberals and libertarians furious at the implications. The ad suggested that lawyers appointed to represent Guantanamo detainees were more loyal to al-Qaeda than to America and called the Department of Justice the "Dept. of Jihad." The ad was however picked up by many conservatives. Bloggers like Michelle Malkin and at the Weekly Standard ran with it. Fox News covered it. Even CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted half an hour to the ad. So the backlash against the Cheney ad has been fierce but somewhat one-sided.
Enter Paul Mirengoff, conservative blogger at Powerline, which deals heavily with national security issues just like the ones discussed in Cheney's ad. Powerline is frequently a staunch supporter of both Liz Cheney and father Dick Cheney. In April, it hopped on the movement to draft Liz Cheney for a presidential run. So it's a significant about-face that Mirengoff is condemning Cheney's ad as "an attack that goes too far."
[I]t is entirely inappropriate to suggest that these lawyers share the values of terrorists or to dub the seven DOJ lawyers "The al Qaeda Seven." Unfortunately, this is what a video released by the organization Keep America Safe does.
I would rather give up my law license than represent Osama bin Laden's driver, for example. And I take a very dim view of the decision by Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal to undertake that representation.
However, I would not deserve to have a law license if my personal views on this matter caused me to launch vicious, unfounded attacks on lawyers who exercise their right to represent despicable clients.Fellow Powerline blogger Scott Johnson agrees, calling the ad "unfortunate."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.