On Monday, I tangentially referenced statements made by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Cully Stimson earlier this week. In summary, he said that corporate America should boycott any firms that provide legal representation to the detainees in Guantanamo because such assistance amounts to siding with the terrorists. It was stupid and offensive to anyone who values American ideals and liberty. Everyone is entitled to express hold such opinions. Unless they work in the government, for the people of the United States, anyone may express them. For such a disgusting disregard for the Constitution of the United States, Stimson should be fired immediately. Instead, of course, the Administration has done nothing more than disavow his statements. And now, Stimson is doing the same, in the Letters to the Editor section of today’s Washington Post:
During a radio interview last week, I brought up the topic of pro bono work and habeas corpus representation of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Regrettably, my comments left the impression that I question the integrity of those engaged in the zealous defense of detainees in Guantanamo. I do not.
I believe firmly that a foundational principle of our legal system is that the system works best when both sides are represented by competent legal counsel. I support pro bono work, as I said in the interview. I was a criminal defense attorney in two of my three tours in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. I zealously represented unpopular clients — people charged with crimes that did not make them, or their attorneys, popular in the military. I believe that our justice system requires vigorous representation.
I apologize for what I said and to those lawyers and law firms who are representing clients at Guantanamo. I hope that my record of public service makes clear that those comments do not reflect my core beliefs.
And I’m sure it was really the alcohol that made Mel Gibson an anti-Semite. All that happened here is Stimson got his hand caught in the totalitarian cookie jar that he and the administration so desperately want to raid for all of its goodies. The outcry, while surprising given how indifferently much of the nation has looked the other way over the last six years, is entirely justified. We’ll accept some offensive rights violations, but this is too far. I’m saddened by where it is, but at least there’s still a line.
Despite his apology, Stimson should be shown the door. Now.