Attorney Who Defended American Taliban Promoted to Top Spot in Justice Department

The lawyer who in 2002 represented John Walker Lindh, an American who pleaded guilty to working with the Taliban in Afghanistan, has been named new acting associate attorney general, the third highest ranking position in the Department of Justice. The Washington Post reports that Tony West, who has donated thousands to Democratic Party candidates and helped raise a record $65 million as California co-chairman for the 2008 Obama campaign, will take over the new role in two weeks where he will oversee a broad range of issues including civil rights, the environment and natural resources, tax and civil litigation.

Considering West’s previous clients, there has been understandable backlash to the hire. The Judicial Watch blog Corruption Chronicles wrote Thursday:

“In a statement announcing the promotion this week, Attorney General Eric Holder says West has served the department with ‘professionalism, integrity and dedication.’ Holder also mentions West’s work before coming to the DOJ a few years ago, including a stint as a Special Assistant Attorney General in California and a lengthier career at a large San Francisco law firm.

Conveniently omitted in the press release is that West represented convicted al Qaeda terrorist John Walker Lindh, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 while fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance as a member of the Taliban army. He actually pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives while fighting U.S. troops in the region.

Holder also knows a thing or two about defending terrorists. After all, he was a senior partner in a prestigious Washington D.C. law firm (Covington & Burling) that represented more than a dozen Yemeni terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. “

Former DOJ official J. Christian Adams spoke Sunday on Fox News Channel to criticize West’s appointment, claiming that the hire is the latest from an administration that has developed a pattern of filling the DOJ with attorneys who had previously “took on the most radical causes.”


Judicial Watch notes that Attorney General Eric Holder was a senior partner at a firm that “employed a number of radical attorneys to provide the Islamic extremists with thousands of hours of free legal representation, according to a news report.”

The post also notes that Holder “orchestrated Bill Clinton’s shameful last-minute pardons, including that of a fugitive financier and a pair of jailed domestic terrorists.”

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)