Politics
ALEXANDRIA, UNITED STATES:  (L-R)  George Harris, James Brosnahan and Tony West, attorneys for John Walker Lindh, the 21-year-old Californian captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan last year, walk from the Albert Bryan US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia 04 October 2002. Lindh received a 20 year sentence 04 October for collaborating with the hardline Muslim militia in Afghanistan.  AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images) ALEXANDRIA, UNITED STATES: (L-R) George Harris, James Brosnahan and Tony West, attorneys for John Walker Lindh, the 21-year-old Californian captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan last year, walk from the Albert Bryan US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia 04 October 2002. Lindh received a 20 year sentence 04 October for collaborating with the hardline Muslim militia in Afghanistan. AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)  

Former Taliban defender appointed to third highest position at the Justice Department

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

One of the few Americans with the distinction of having been a terrorist’s defense attorney has been named number three in command at the Justice Department.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West’s promotion to Acting Associate Attorney General last week.

Harvard- and Stanford-educated with a long legal career, West also has the distinction of having defended American terrorist John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban member sentenced to 20 years in prison after being captured in Afghanistan fighting on the enemy’s side in 2001.

“The American people need to know who is controlling the debate in the Justice Department about terrorist detainees, how they are treated and where they are going to be tried.” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch explained to The Daily Caller.

Former Justice official J. Christian Adams, the whistle-blower in the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case, spoke out against the appointment on Fox News over the weekend.

“The most dangerous thing is that West is overseeing Gitmo policy. It’s not that he’s just some guy at the Justice Department licking envelopes,” Adams said explaining that not only did West defend Lindh he worked on other terrorists’ cases.

“Tony West took on, and his firm, took some of the most radical causes for America’s enemies before coming to the Justice Department,” said Adams.

Nevertheless in 2009 the Senate confirmed West to be an assistant attorney general in a 82-4 vote.

According to Fitton, this recent appointment demonstrates how important even lower level confirmations are.

“Most politicians are oblivious to the impact of lower level appointees on policy. So you have folks with radical pasts and activism being appointed to high levels with Senate approval to these types of positions,” he said.

Holder announced West’s promotion in conjunction with Stuart Delery’s appointment to Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division last week.

“Tony and Stuart have served the department with professionalism, integrity and dedication, and both bring a wealth of experience to their new positions,” said Holder. “I’m confident they will provide invaluable leadership and will play a critical role in furthering the department’s key priorities and fulfilling its traditional missions.”

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