An infuriated former commanding officer for Republican attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt is blasting opponent Ross Miller’s attacks on Laxalt’s military record.
“To hear someone say that anybody in my unit did nothing but push paper, is so clearly offensive to me, it borders on anger,” retired Navy captain Brian MacKenzie told me.
MacKenzie was reacting to comments Miller made during last Friday’s debate with Laxalt.
“When you say you were prosecuting terrorists in Iraq, is that true?” Miller asked Laxalt. “Doesn’t seem to be. Seems like you were processing paperwork.”
“Do you have any idea what it is like to go into a warzone?” Laxalt shot back. “I take great offense that you are attacking my military record.”
While most of specifics regarding his work in Iraq are classified, the role and responsibility of Laxalt and the unit in which he served, Task Force 134 (TF 134), is publicly available.
In his legal analysis of the War in Iraq, retired Navy Captain and JAG officer Brian Bill wrote:
Within the TF 134 legal office there was a [Central Criminal Court of Iraq] liaison office, which was tasked to prepare cases for eventual prosecution at CCCI Attorneys within that office would receive the files forwarded to it from the Magistrate Cell and determine, based on their experience with the Court, whether prosecution was worthwhile…. If the CCCI liaison office attorney didn’t act as the prosecutor, he or she was certainly a very active “shadow” prosecutor.”
MacKenzie said Laxalt fit the very definition of a very active shadow prosecutor.
“There was not a legal piece that happened during his tenure there that didn’t have his fingerprints on it,” MacKenzie said. “[Laxalt] was an integral part of a system designed to prosecute those we could and detain those we couldn’t.”
MacKenzie previously came to Laxalt’s defense for his work in Task Force 134. He and Major General Doug Stone, who served as MacKenzie’s commanding officer, took on a tweet by Dana Gentry, executive producer for Ralston Reports.
Responding to a Laxalt campaign ad in which the candidate claims he “helped put away terrorists and war criminals,” Gentry tweeted, “What did he do? Tuck them in for bed?”
“Ralston shamelessly reinforced these offensive comments, even going further, suggesting there is ‘no evidence’ Task Force 134 helped to put away terrorists,” MacKenzie and Stone wrote. “These attacks are false, malicious, and dishonor not only Mr. Laxalt, but the multitude of American servicemen and servicewomen who conducted this critical work.”