At the New York Post, Meghan Clyne profiles the Obama/Holder Justice Department’s latest fabulous addition, Jennifer Daskal, formerly “senior counterterrorism counsel” at Human Rights Watch. Daskal has no prosecutorial experience; she is, however, an activist of the hard left, which now evidently qualifies lawyers to serve as political appointees in DOJ’s National Security Division. She’s been tapped to shape detainee policy as part of Obama’s Detention Policy Task Force (that’s the task force I declined an invitation to meet with this past spring, as explained in this letter to Attorney General Holder).
Human Rights Watch, as Mark Hemingway noted here on Wednesday, is now embroiled in a scandal over its fundraising method in that bastion of human rights, Saudi Arabia (namely, bragging to Saudis about its anti-Israel stands). Meghan recounts that, while at HRW,
Daskal never missed a chance to give Gitmo detainees the benefit of the doubt while assuming the worst about US government intentions. She has called for a “truth commission” to investigate Bush anti-terror policies, and was even unhappy with Team Obama before joining it.
In February, Justice asserted the state-secrets privilege to avoid disclosing details of the CIA’s interrogation program; Daskal called it “a huge disappointment . . . inconsistent with the commitment to transparency and openness promised by the new administration.”
Back when five Gitmo terrorists, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, announced their intention to confess, Daskal refused to accept their guilt: “In light of the men’s severe mistreatment, the judge should require a full and thorough factual inquiry to determine whether or not these pleas are voluntary.” Maybe she didn’t hear the outburst from one of the five at the end of his hearing: “I hope the jihad will continue and strike the heart of America with all kinds of weapons of mass destruction.”
Daskal thinks America is guilty of torture — but she has an odd understanding of it. In a 54-page report on Gitmo detainees’ allegedly deteriorating mental health, she laments how one detainee, “a self-styled poet,” “found it was nearly impossible to write poetry anymore because the prison guards would only allow him to keep a pen or pencil in his cell for short periods of time.” Quick, call the Red Cross!
Then there’s the attention Daskal lavished on Canadian-born Omar Khadr, a detainee she says is being denied “his rights as a child.” (Human Rights Watch has urged Defense Secretary Bob Gates to transfer Khadr to courts where he’d be treated as a juvenile.) He’s an adult now, but Khadr was 15 when apprehended on an Afghan battlefield — where, US troops say, he launched the grenade that killed Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer.
Sgt. Layne Morris, who was wounded by the same grenade, calls claims that Khadr should be treated as a child “laughable.” And he says: “The fact that she took on that young man’s case — and has argued the ridiculous things that she has — and is now appointed to the Justice Department, where she brings in those same thought processes and prejudices — it doesn’t bode well for the security of our country.”
Nope, it sure doesn’t.