Gingrich: Obama Lawyers Defended Terrorists

Sunday, 10 May 2009 08:38 PM

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The Obama administration is taking dangerous risks with the nation's security, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday, by relying on attorneys who defended terrorists in private practice instead of the judgment of CIA officials who've been fighting them since the 9/11 attacks.

"When you look at the Obama administration, the number of attorneys they have appointed who were defending alleged terrorists -- I mean, there’s this weird pattern where the Bush people wanted to defend Americans and were pretty tough on terrorists,'' Gingrich said on "Fox News Sunday.

"These guys are prepared to take huge risks with Americans in order to defend terrorists,'' Gingrich said of Obama's key legal advisors.

"Holder’s firm has 17 alleged terrorists that they’re representing on a pro bono basis, for no fee," Gingrich said of Attorney General Eric Holder. "It’s the largest single thing they were doing for free -- was defending Yemenis. I think there are five different attorneys in the -- in the Justice Department appointed by Obama who had direct -- their firms were defending alleged terrorists."

Gingrich called on the administration to release every possible document on harsh interrogation tactics to determine if they in fact worked in keeping Americans safe these last eight years.

Gingrich also slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not standing up to then-President George Bush if she was against harsh interrogation tactics. Pelosi has repeatedly claimed that she wasn't aware the administration was waterboarding terrorists, but documents released last week said that Pelosi attended a meeting in which CIA officials discussed in detail these tactics. He chief aide attended another, and key Democratic leaders were present at some 40 meetings from 2002 until at least 2006.

"If you objected to a secret operation, was there something you could do?" moderator Chris Wallace asked Gingrich based on his experience as a former House Speaker.

"Sure. I mean, the first thing you do is call the president and tell him you will feel compelled to pass a law cutting off the money," Gingrich said. "I mean, there are lots of things you can do if you want to do it. The Congress is pretty powerful if it wants to be.

"And second, you know, they’ve had control since January of 2007. They haven’t passed a law making waterboarding illegal. They haven’t gone into any of these things and changed law. In fact, they’ve had several -- they -- recently, you find that Attorney General Holder’s own Justice Department is saying, “Well, you know, some of these memos are actually right. They’re not wrong."

Gingrich described the Democratic attacks as resembling McCarthyism.

"So this is -- what we’re seeing now in a very sad way is as bitter a partisan attack on the Bush people as we’ve seen since the McCarthy era," Gingrich said. "The degree that they’re putting specific people at risk for criminal prosecution is unprecedented in modern America."

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