Statement of Steven R. Shapiro, ACLU National Legal Director
NEW YORK -- Having twice been told by the United States Supreme Court that its detention policies at the Guantánamo Bay detention camps are unlawful, the Administration has now launched an attack on the lawyers representing those detainees.
In a radio interview yesterday, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, Cully Stimson, said he found it "shocking" that major American law firms would agree to represent Guantánamo detainees, and predicted that those firms would suffer financially once that representation became know to the firm's corporate clients. To speed that process along, he then read on the air a list of prominent law firms that have been involved in the Guantánamo litigation.
It is highly unlikely that any of the law firms mentioned by Mr. Stimson will be deterred by his comments. By agreeing to represent detainees at Guantánamo, they have already demonstrated their courage, their commitment, and their respect for the highest traditions of the legal profession.
What is truly "shocking" is that a senior Administration official would demonstrate so little appreciation for the role of lawyers and the rule of law. Five years after the first detainees were brought to Guantánamo and denied any access to lawyers until the courts intervened, the Administration seems either unable or unwilling to learn from its past mistakes. What Mr. Stimson condemns are precisely the values we should be trying to defend in the war on terror.
To listen to the interview go to www.federalnewsradio.com/index.php?sid=1029671&nid=318.