Good to see this from Ben Smith:
I’ve obtained a copy of the statement drafted by Brookings’ Ben Wittes, which labels “shameful” Keep America Safe’s focus on the Justice Department for hiring, and temporarily concealing the names of lawyers who did work for detainees. Its signatories, according to Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski, who circulated the draft, will be former government officials and legal experts, “mostly conservatives.” The signatories are well-known lawyers, if largely people whose criticism of Cheney won’t come as a surprise. They include including the Bush Administration Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler, Condoleeza Rice legal adviser John Bellinger, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Matthew Waxman, and the right-leaning legal scholars Philip Bobbitt and Robert Chesney.
The most surprising name, however, is that of David Rivkin, an official in the first Bush administration who has emerged as a leading defender of the interrogation policies advocated by the Cheneys.
I would only quibble that Smith seems to deem the fact that this is “largely people whose criticism of Cheney won’t come as a surprise” as to some extent undermining the letter. If anything, it should be seen as the reverse. The fact that it’s not surprising that people like Peter Keisler, John Bellinger, Matthew Waxman, Philip Bobbitt, and Robert Chesney think the Cheney/Kristol take on law, ethics, national security, and human rights is wrong is a telling indictment of the Cheney/Kristol faction of the conservative movement.
Spencer Ackerman emphasizes just how right-wing Rivkin and Casey are:
David Rivkin and Lee Casey are an op-ed-writing team of former GOP legal officials who defend practically every terrorism-related policy pushed by the Bush administration. Here they are saying that warrantless surveillance “has always been on firm legal ground.” Here they are saying that the Justice Department and CIA torture memos somehow prove “the actual techniques used… did not cause severe pain or degradation.” Here they are saying that Congress can do practically nothing to stop a war aside from ceasing to appropriate money for it.
Cheney can’t even keep all the Cheneyites on her side.