CommunityFDL Main Blog

Extortion is Not Supposed to be a Fad, Senators

(photo: plastic lemonade)

First, Sen. Richard Shelby put a blanket hold on all executive branch nominees to extort the executive branch into rigging procurement to guarantee that the company he favored won a bid on a defense contract. Oh, and he wanted the FBI to build a crime lab in his state, too.

And now Sen. Lindsey Graham is copycatting, placing a hold on the closing of Gitmo hostage to extort the Department of Justice into not having a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. And Graham’s not being subtle about it. In a well-researched piece for The New Yorker, Jane Mayer breaks some amazing scoops:

“Rahm had a good relationship with Graham, and believed Graham when he said that if you don’t prosecute these people in military commissions I won’t support the closing of Guantánamo. . . Rahm said, ‘If we don’t have Graham, we can’t close Guantánamo, and it’s on Eric!’ ”


Graham told [Mayer], “It was a nonstarter for me. There’s a place for the courts, but not for the mastermind of 9/11.” He said, “On balance, I think it would be better to close Guantánamo, but it would be better to keep it open than to give these guys civilian trials.” Graham, who served as a judge advocate general in the military reserves, vowed that he would do all he could as a legislator to stop the trials.

Okay, Senators Graham and Shelby? This is the U.S. Senate, not middle school. This blackmail thing?  It‘s not like, “Oh, the cool kids are wearing Hello Kitty wristwatches” and you need to follow the fad.

There is zero logical nexus between whether or not to close Gitmo and whether or not to have civilian trials, so the only reason for making the kind of statement quoted above, is quid pro quo. While I’m not suggesting that this is a Hobbs Act violation (read the link, trust me), it certainly smells just as bad.

Kate Martin, the Center for National Security Studies director, warns, “We can’t have a situation where political pressure forces the federal government to forgo criminal prosecution. That would mean the system is fundamentally broken.”

Message for Rahm, from Marcy Wheeler:

Remind me. Didn’t Rove and the Bush White House get in trouble for this kind of tampering with DOJ issues?

Really, the White House needs to BACK OFF and let the Department of Justice and the federal courts do their job. And a bunch of non-lawyers with ZERO expertise in this area should NOT be part of the decision making process, much less driving that process. Hasn’t Rahm done enough damage to the President with his mishandling of the healthcare bill? Why do you want him to screw up something he knows even less about?

Previous post

Poetic Justice, Karma, Providence, Destiny, Fate, & God's Will Prevail In The Super Bowl!

Next post

A Lesson From Republicans

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril is a former Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York under several different U.S. Attorneys, former counsel to the Inspector General for the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection where she investigated threats to the New York City water supply and other environmental crimes, as well as public corruption and fraud against the government, former Examining Attorney at the N.Y.C. Department of Investigation and former Capital Construction Counsel at New York City Parks and Recreation.
She is now in private practice with a colleague whom she met while at the USA Attorney's Office. Ms. Kouril is a member of the Steering Committee, National Committeewoman and Regional Coordinator for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a member of the Program Committee of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the Election Law Committee at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is active in several other Bar Associations.
Most important of all, she is a soccer mom.