In recent days the Justice Department has been getting angry phone calls about the "Qaeda" lawyers supposedly hired by Attorney General Eric Holder. The reason? An unusually ferocious Web ad by Liz Cheney's advocacy group, Keep America Safe, targeting Justice lawyers who previously did pro bono work for Guantánamo detainees. The ad—in one frame, a headline refers to the DOJ as the "Department of Jihad"—has been denounced as McCarthyism by liberal critics. It's also being condemned by a growing number of former George W. Bush administration lawyers. Ted Olson, who served as Bush's solicitor general, says he has the "greatest respect" for lawyers who represented Gitmo clients; they were acting "consistent with the finest traditions of the legal profession," he says. He calls the attacks on one of the targets, Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, "outrageous." Four years ago, Katyal represented Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, in a landmark Supreme Court case that overturned the military tribunals that Bush created. (Katyal did a "marvelous job" on the case, says Olson.)
What do you think about this? Is the job of a lawyer different in that they are employed to represent a client and it is irrelevant who it is? Is there a line they should not cross? If there is a line and they do cross it, should they be able to come back across the line and we ignore what they did? Can someone really represent a terrorist and still be trusted to look out for our safety against like minded terrorists?