Washington Times Editorial
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. seems to have a bizarre urge to stick his finger in the eyes of congressmen. On subject after sub-
ject, he has refused to give substantive answers to basic, straightforward congressional inquiries. In the latest instance, Mr. Holder's obstinacy could put national security at risk.
This page reported in an exclusive last November that Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the Justice Department's third-ranking official, recused himself on at least 39 cases of terrorist detainees – presumably because his former law firm did work for those detainees, even if Mr. Perrelli himself did not. Our report came in the context of a Senate hearing where Mr. Holder dismissively treated requests from Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, for the Justice Department to provide a list of all detainee cases from which Justice Department lawyers were recused, and the names of the lawyers.
On Feb. 19, after three months of stalling, Holder aide Ronald Welch finally deigned to respond to Mr. Grassley. “I asked for names, cases and recusals, and in return I received a five-page letter of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo that failed to sufficiently answer my simple questions,” said Mr. Grassley. Mr. Welch told the senator that at least nine lawyers at the department either represented detainees or worked on amicus briefs on detainees' behalf. But he didn't name the lawyers (other than two already identified by Mr. Grassley), or the cases or other relevant information.