Attorney General Eric Holder offered a passionate and sharp denunciation on Wednesday of the attacks leveled by Liz Cheney and others accusing his department of aiding al Qaeda sympathizers.
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing on Justice Department activities, Holder called the ads run against those Justice Department lawyers who have defended Gitmo detainees -- calling them the "al Qaeda 7" -- "reprehensible."
"There has been an attempt to take the names of the people who represent Guantanamo detainees and to drag their reputations through the mud," he said, when pressed to disclose more information about these lawyers by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). "There were reprehensible ads in essence to question their patriotism. I'm not going to allow these kids... I'm not going to be a part of this effort."
Holder continued: "Their names are out there now. I'm simply not going to be a part of that effort. I would not allow good, decent lawyers who have followed the best traditions of American jurisprudence... I will not allow their reputations to be besmirched. I will not be a part of that."
Following Grassley on the dais was Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), who applauded the Attorney General for defending the Justice Department lawyers. The Illinois Democrat noted that the legal work done was not to secure a detainee's innocence, but to ensure that they were granted habeas corpus rights.
"I think you are standing up for a very fundamental principle and rule of law here that does go back to John Adams," Durbin said.