Tony West, Lawyer At Center Of Al-Awlaki Filing, Was Once Smeared As 'Al Qaeda Seven'

Over the weekend, Spencer Ackerman pointed out that the "first Justice Department lawyer to sign off on the Obama administration's brief to dismiss a lawsuit seeking an injunction on executing Anwar al-Awlaki" was assistant attorney general Tony West. Recognize that name? If you do, it's probably because he was one of the DoJ lawyers referred to as the "al Qaeda Seven" by Liz Cheney's creepy fear-stoking organization, Keep America Safe.

West previously represented "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, who is currently serving out a 20-year prison sentence. This past summer, West was criticized anew by Keep America Safe because he headed up the Justice Department's suit against the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070.

Now that West has put his name on the Anwar al-Awlaki matter, I'd expect Keep America Safe to spin this as an example of how effective their pressure group is. But West's activities are all a part of what it means to be a lawyer for the Department of Justice. Adam Serwer quips, "It's almost as if Cheney... [has] no idea how the American legal system works." I'm actually pretty sure that she does know how it works, but is happy to exploit that fact that most people do not.

Of course, let's remember that this al-Awlaki matter is about upholding President Barack Obama's claim that he has a legal right to assassinate an American citizen if he feels like it, so it looks like we're all about to learn some new and exciting things about our vaunted legal protections.

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