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View Diary: Obama: Hire These Heroes from the Bush Era (Update x 5) (276 comments)

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  •  Don't forget Jesselyn Radack (13+ / 0-)

    She is one of us.

    "Jesselyn Radack is a former U.S. Department of Justice ethics adviser who came to prominence as a whistleblower after she objected to the government's treatment of John Walker Lindh (the "American Taliban" captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan), having argued that, since a lawyer had been retained to represent him, he could not be interrogated without that lawyer present."

    Radack is a graduate with honors of Brown University and Yale Law School. After graduation she was selected for the Attorney’s General Honors Program and briefly worked for the Department of Justice. She now works in private practice.

    Whistleblower at the Department of Justice

    Involvement in ethics inquiry concerning the Lindh Case
    In December 2001, while working at the Professional Responsibility and Advisory Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, Radack received an inquiry from the FBI about whether Lindh could be questioned without the presence of counsel. Radack responded that this was not permitted by law, since Lindh’s father had already retained a lawyer for him. The FBI nevertheless questioned Lindh without the presence of his lawyer. Radack thus advised that the confession should be sealed and could not be used in a criminal case against Lindh. The prosecution ignored her advice and used the evidence. Furthermore, Attorney General John Ashcroft stated that "to our knowledge, (Lindh) has not chosen a lawyer (at the time of interrogation)".

    Initial retaliation against Radack
    Two weeks after the government’s complaint against Lindh was filed, Radack received a blistering performance review. It did not mention the Lindh case, but it severely questioned her legal judgment. She was advised to find a new job, which she did with a private law firm. Constiutional scholar and former Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan, Bruce Fein, represented Radack pro bono in her fight against retaliation.

    Senator Edward M. Kennedy later said: "It appears she (Radack) was effectively fired for providing legal advice that the (Justice) Department didn't agree with."

    Cover-up at the Justice Department
    In March 2002, shortly before Radack’s employment at the Justice Department ended, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, who was presiding over the Lindh case, requested copies of the Justice Department’s internal correspondence on the case. The most important e-mails that Radack had sent in the case and which undermined the public statements by the Justice Department had meanwhile been removed from the official Lindh file in violation of the rules of federal procedure. Radack recovered the e-mails and informed her supervisor that her department had not complied with the court order.

    Whistleblowing and additional retaliation
    Meanwhile, it was the official position of the Department of Justice that it had no knowledge that Lindh was represented by a lawyer prior to his interrogation--a position contradicted by Radack's files. Upon reading about the government's position in an article in Newsweek, Radack faxed her documents to Newsweek.

    In June the District Court ordered the Justice Department to investigate the origins of the e-mails. Instead of investigating the cover-up, the Justice Department put Radack under criminal investigation after she declined to speak at length to investigators. Ronald Powell, a special agent for the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General, informed Radack's new employer of the investigation and questioned its staff and lawyers, and Radack lost her job as a result. U.S. senator Ted Kennedy submitted questions about this affair to Attorney General John Ashcroft in March 2003 and expressed concern about her situation in May 2003.[5] After some time, the criminal investigation was closed with no charges, but her case was referred to the state bar of Maryland, which eventually cleared her of all wrongdoing."


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