Cheney’s Lawyer Now Defending Haynes
We’ve discussed the quiet omnipresence of Terry O’Donnell on this blog several times before. O’Donnell is, of course, Dick Cheney’s long-time personal lawyer. We know that David Addington informed Cheney when he discovered the "meatgrinder" note in the evidence being turned over to the FBI in the CIA Leak Case. We also know that O’Donnell took the lead on efforts to convince DOJ not to indict James Tobin–even though O’Donnell was not one of the named Williams & Connolly lawyers representing Tobin.
If the Tobin example didn’t already make it clear that O’Donnell’s job is not just to keep Cheney–but to keep the entire top Bush Administration out of jail–consider this news.
Terry O’Donnell is now representing the former General Counsel for DOD, William Haynes.
The panel notified the Pentagon in early February that it wanted to question Haynes. Before receiving any response, investigators learned on Feb. 25 that Haynes was leaving for Chevron in San Francisco. "How often does somebody like that give two weeks’ notice and leave town?" said one government source familiar with the sequence of events.
Haynes’s departure initially raised concerns about obtaining his testimony without a subpoena, especially after the panel learned that he had retained top criminal defense attorney Terrence O’Donnell, who represented Cheney during the Valerie Plame leak investigation. But O’Donnell told NEWSWEEK that Haynes has agreed to be interviewed, adding that the committee’s probe "had nothing to do" with his resignation.
This mind-boggling news appears in an Isikoff story about a secret Senate Armed Forces investigation into abuses of detainees in DOD custody (recall that Carl Levin Chairs Armed Forces and John McCain is the ranking member–which itself is cause for discussion).
Not surprisingly, Isikoff doesn’t bat an eye about the fact that the Vice President’s personal lawyer is now representing the guy at DOD who is at the nexus of policies permitting torture, the guy who stands between the policies at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, and Rummy and Dick. Isikoff doesn’t consider the tremendous conflict that O’Donnell is likely to have, representing both the legal facilitator of the torture and the mastermind of the whole damned Unitary Executive itself.
Once again, this Administration appears to be defending itself as a collectivity. And once again, it appears that Dick has himself well-insulated from his own illegal actions.
Alright. I’ve got to hit two more things that I find to be mind-boggling about this.
First, I take solace that this investigation is being done at Armed Forces. Carl Levin has none of the gelatinous character that Jay Rockefeller has–so I’m glad that he’s leading the investigation rather than Levin’s colleague at SSCI. But consider what it means that John McCain–the guy who led the limited reveal investigation of Jack Abramoff–is the Ranking Member on this committee. At the very least, this investigation should not be conducted under the veil of secrecy.
Second, consider Terry O’Donnell’s own resume. O’Donnell and Dick go back to the Nixon Administration together. But they really got chummy when O’Donnell himself was General Counsel of DOD when Dick was Secretary of Defense. That makes all of these relationships: Dick to O’Donnell his former GC, Dick to O’Donnell his personal lawyer, O’Donnell to Haynes, his successor as Republican DOD GC, Dick to Rummy to O’Donnell to Haynes almost too close to fathom.
Update: Dick’s resume corrected per Bushie.
How scared were they Scooter would turn state’s evidence?
The true story of this gang will shock the conscience.
The comparisons for this come straight from science fiction: the hive, the Borg.
O’Donnell’s role allows him – even if he somehow were to strictly comply with his conflicting obligations of confidentiality and vigorous representation – to know all the dirt that could get Cheney or Rumsfeld or Addington in trouble and to craft preparatory defenses for use in and out of court against any of them ever being liable for it. Not to mention giving him a head’s up on potential leaks concerning the role of the OLC in building the house of cards known as the, “We don’t torture, but it’s legal and authorized conduct” policy.
But until Cheney or another client are in actual, rather than potential legal jeopardy, I suspect O’Donnell’s role can’t be successfully challenged. Avoiding ever having to face that problem, of course, is presumably why he has the role he does.
Can you say more about that, eoh?
And if Cheney is ever charged with something, up to and including a violation of our War Crimes law, can we then complain about O’Donnell’s conflicts? But up until that time, he can tell Cheney’s what’s going on with O’Donnell and be protected under attorney-client privilege?
This is brilliant (unfortunately) b/c if O’Donnell were to tell Cheney what he knows about other client(s) he’s representing, he would be techinically waiving the attorney/client privilege between himself and whichever client he were to inform Cheney about.
However, since Cheney is also a client, O’Donnell’s waiver of the privilege as to his other client(s) would again be privileged due to his discussions with Cheney.
Intellectually dishonest, and way outside a lawyer’s ethical guidelines, but brilliant nonetheless.
Tried to answer earlier; your system or mine is having hiccups. I think others have partly answered your question.
O’Donnell couldn’t reveal what he learned from one client to another (or to anyone else) without breaching his obligations of confidentiality or without first obtaining the disclosing client’s permission.
What O’Donnell could do is use everything he knows from all his clients to construct the best defense he can for each of them. If more than one client becomes the subject of a criminal investigation involving the same facts and circumstances, conflicts quickly appear. It could be hard for O’Donnell to continue representing either client, since what he knows might be vital to the defense of one client, but prejudicial to the other and vice versa.
‘O’Donnell couldn’t reveal what he learned from one client to another (or to anyone else) without breaching his obligations of confidentiality or without first obtaining the disclosing client’s permission.’
Oh I can imagine he’d have no trouble getting ‘clients’ permission. They want him to keep them out of jail, all of them….Or am I reading that wrong?
I think Haynes ‘disappearance’ is about the show trials that they are going to stage in the fall. They are seeking the death penalty for some of the ‘combatants’. Haynes said ‘We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.” I think that they are disappearing the tapes/memory sticks/zip drives/whatever, the A team that was in charge of torture, and as much of the evidence of torture as possible. If they ‘disappear’ enough of the torture perpetrators, doctors, and psychologists, then maybe the full extent of the war crimes will not come out while they are getting their ‘convictions’. Just my conjecture.
Agree. His departure from DOD doesn’t make it easier or harder to get his testimony before Congress, as Harriet Miers makes clear. Not least when Dick Cheney’s personal lawyer has advised Haynes to “come in without a fight” and without a subpoena.
I wonder if, like Scooter Libby, Haynes and Dick will have compared stories before Haynes testifies.
Once the word was leaked about Haynes’ saying “there can’t be any acquittals,” I think they had to get Haynes out of the DoD ASAP in order to argue that the show trials were not tainted by Haynes’ desire to “fix” the results.
I wish I had your confidence that Levin’s involvement was a good thing instead of more bad, more rippling the surface to make it look like something is going on, without any sinker to take the hook down where it needs to go.
Levin co-sponsored the DTA. Even Levin agreed the DTA was meant and intended to kill habeas at GITMO, his only “later discovered” difference of opinion, which he kept as muted as possible, being over whether or not the DTA was meant to disenfranchise existing cases. He sure helped draft it in a manner that Steven had to work damn hard to have it not disenfranchise existing cases.
Levin and his crew have had case after case, whistleblower after whistleblwoer, before them – they knew children were being bought and shipped to GITMO, they’ve seen the Kurnaz case – the Uighur cases, they’ve read the appellations of Kafkaesque that Judges had affixed to those cases; they’ve had report after report of situations at GITMO and at prisons and detention facilities and Levin did not one constructive thing to address any of them. He hasn’t been a voice on any of it. He let Rumsfeld yammer on for YEARS about how only the “worst of the worst” were at GITMO without doing one thing to correct the record or call him down (and he doesn’t seem too concerned that the Pentagon is still harboring Rumsfeld in offices, or was last I heard).
Levin was ranking member and could have derailed the MCA, which took the principals that he (Levin) co-sponsored in the DTA (killing habeas) and made them universal in application. While Dodd and Leahy were scrambling before the MCA votes, Levin was finding an itch to scratch. He didn’t lead on Walter Reed – he followed. No one on the Armed Services committee was even paying attention until it hit the press. He may not be gelatinous, but the places were I have seen resolve – like his help ramming through the first set of amnesty provisions in the DTA and sounding a death knell for habeas despite having some of the most direct evidence of innocence of detainees there – they haven’t been places where his dejellification has made me feel better.
And then there’s the note that Hillary seems out of the loop about any investigation.
Keep in mind that is hasn’t just been Cheney and co. that have circled the wagons around Haynes. If Comey and Goldsmith had their way – he’d be on the Fourth Circuit.
I’d be shocked beyond belief if the primary purpose of Levin’s actions were not to clear the decks with a tsk tsk so that there will never be any actual consequences for Haynes et al. After all, how much more culpable is Haynes than anyone in Congress – in particular those like Pelosi and Reid who got torture briefings directly – who let everything go on with the sole, concerted effort of making sure no voices of Iraqi and ME victims, or their orphans left behind, or their disappeared chidlren, ever found an audience here in the US.
With the Sands book coming out, they want to give an appearance of doing something – without actually doing it. Levin worked just as hard as any Republican to make sure that Taguba’s requests for investigations into Military Intelligence never came to fruition.
OT – but while Congress is working hard at doing nothing and Mukasey is following in their footsteps, Horton has a more expanded treatment of the discussion in the link I put in an earlier thread. That was in connection with an award of about $500,000 in fees in favor of a defendant, Latifi, in a case brought by Martin’s Alabama USA office and dismissed by the court at the outset as being without basis.
Kind of like the bench ruling by the appellate court setting a Biskupic victim free, the Judge’s award in Alabama is almost unprecedented. But what helped finalize the decision was what Martin herself did. She had organized pre-judgement seizure of Latifi’s assets, putting him out of work for over a year and destroying the business he built since 1984. When the case was dismissed, he filed for fees and Martin filed a request for the court to certify the seizure as based on reasonable cause to avoid the fee request. So Latifi’s lawyers filed to put Martin under oath and to have discovery of the legal memos, notes, correspondence and investigations that resulted in the seizure.
Martin scrambled and scrambled to avoid being put under oath, but when she had pretty much lost the battle, rather than testify under oath as to why assets were seized and the reasonable grounds for that seizure – – – she withdrew motions and let judgement for fees be entered against gov.
So America is paying $500,000 just so Martin won’t have to testify under oath about her prosecutorial misconduct. Mukasey apparently is busy studying up on whether or not Spitzer’s hookers qualified as “unlawful enemy commandos” or if the wearing of a tanzanite encrusted thong (ouch) qualifies as a uniform.
What confirmed for me that Levin had gone over to the dark side was the Gates confirmation hearing … worse acting ever by him and the other Senators.
They behaved like concern trolls, not as defenders of that quaint item called the Constitution.
I wonder how long that 2000 law will stay on the books? I wish it came with some disciplinary action against the perpetrators, but that would be too much to expect I suppose. If the taxpayers insure malpractice at DoJ, we won’t see any recompense for said malpractice.
When was the DICK Sec. State?
Although McBush is ranking member of Armed Services, how likely he’d take time from his campaign to attend a fruitless (e.g. Senate) hearing?
As of a refresh 1 minute ago (about 3:04 pm, CDT), it still says “Secretary of State” in the update.
Okay. Now it’s fixed. I think.
Will McCain report to Cheney what goes on behind closed Armed Services doors?
This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions…
And from a simpleton, no less. Seems unethical, but I suppose that when the players don’t give a rip about illegal, unethical doesn’t even figure into the equation.
Yes. (I know I’m reiterating EW.) It will work just like Fred Thompson did with Iran-Contra. They might as well put in a direct HD TV link from the hearings to the back rooms to Cheney’s office.
Moderator: More than twice today the system has auto-refreshed, throwing out my work.
Related Topic – Hamdan’s lawyers have filed charges relating to his abuse.
Apparently the way around the US forces not speaking Farsi or Pashtun or Arabic was to teach detainees to speak English. Here’s Hamdan learning “again.”
I swear I don’t understand what it takes for this country to learn “again.” After Watergate, turning dogs loose on children in civil rights marches, Vietnam, etc. I guess the vicarious slam of someone else’s head just doesn’t have the same teaching impact.
16 – and the fact that Haynes is technically not in any “chain of authority” from OVP makes it easier for him still.
Legally true, no doubt. But given that Dick Cheney sidestepped the claimed chain of authority in the Plame case (declassifying materials in the chain of authority for CIA) the authorization for the illegal wiretap program (working directly with Yoo), and, most on point, the shoot down order of civilian airlines on 9/11, it’s not a terrifically defensible argument.
I think that’s right. One of Cheney’s first actions was to construct an informal, alternate chain of command in many agencies, leading to him, and to subvert the formal chains of command and policy-making processes. His complete dominance over Bush allowed to do it and get away with it. Haynes is regarded as being within Addington’s sphere of influence, which gives him a nearly direct line to Cheney. Something any prosecution would need to deal with, though proving it might be hard in the face of formal denials.
Put Tom Kean on the stand. Lee Hamilton. Phillip Zelikow. Scooter Libby (whose notes the 9/11 Commissions used to determine Cheney had illegally given the shoot down order).
That oughta do it.
Jo Becker and Bart Gellman at the WaPo got themselves a Pulitzer a little earlier today for their series on Cheney and his power grabs.
Lots and lots of tasty stuff there — a well-deserved award.
From part two of Barton and Gellman:
Haynes and Addington, right in the middle of trashing the Geneva conventions. Who could have anticipated . . .
That should be “Becker and Gellman”
Preview is my friend.
Preview is my friend.
Preview is . . .
That looks an awful lot like Cheney confusing the “president’s” decision with his own. A daily problem, it would seem.
It would be so good if someone could do the map. I don’t have the visual imagination, but I’m sure that somebody does.
O/T, I suppose, but re Cheney: Did we dodge a bullet, the new moon having come and gone and no attack on Iran having taken place that we know of? Has our Veep been sighted? How is his demeanor? Health? Determination to have his little war?
This an interesting story and it keeps changing…
WASHINGTON, April 4 (Reuters) – A U.S. B-1 bomber caught fire after landing at an air base in Qatar on Friday but the crew escaped without injury, the Air Force said.
Fire erupted as the plane taxied after landing at al Udeid Air Base around 1:10 p.m. EDT (1710 GMT) after what the Air Force described as “a ground incident.”
and I think Qatar is 12 hrs ahead of us…(new moon an’ all;))
Flying military aircraft is inherently dangerous all the time. If you’re implying that the “fire” didn’t happen or that it was used to distract from nefarious conduct, well, you’d have to consider the character of the administration they work for.
What the dickens are Santa’s little elves up to now?
Re 17 & 18, I imagine that it’s common for a lawyer to represent multiple clients in the same action – but only where their interests aren’t materially different. I suspect it’s less common in criminal prosecutions because of the greater potential for conflicts. A lot would depend on the specific crimes and behavior involved.
Facilitating direct communications between clients after each is on notice that he’s the subject of a criminal investigation, or even after determining that a client is likely to become the subject of a criminal investigation, would pretty quickly raise questions of obstruction of justice.
O’Donnell’s greatest contribution is in coordinating public responses to claims of wrongdoing so as to avoid commencement of a Congressional or criminal investigation, and in keeping each client aware of the state of play.
How much war crimes trial experience does O’Donnell have?
IANAL, but I’m wondering if all this chumminess merits a RICO charge?
It is in any case above all that there is a criminal conspiracy in the highest offices of the WH. I don’t know how many bad apples there were to start out with, but the whole barrel is rotten by now.
Bob in HI
I am Locutus, of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us. ~Locutus
“Resistance is futile” I always think of as a Douglas Addams line, given to surprised hitchhikers. All roads led to Rome, all roads lead to Mr. Cheney’s office.
OT – From EFF:
From the order’s footnotes:
19 – 21 There were hiccups with the system. I meant my 19 in response to earlofhuntingdon’s description, at 2, that ” until Cheney or another client are in actual, rather than potential legal jeopardy, I suspect O’Donnell’s role can’t be successfully challenged” and observations on conflicts.
The fact that Haynes would not be directly under any obligation to act vis a vis Cheney makes it easier for the lawyer on the conflicts front.
Cheney is in a catbird seat IMO in the torture authorizations. He was not in a position to give direct orders to anyone, he was not in a position to issue legal authorizations to anyone, and if those who were able to issue OLC opinions or give directions to CIA, NSA and/or military crews responded to his ranting, ravings and grumblings, they really will have a hard time passing that buck off to him. Saying, “Being afraid of Cheney made me do it” isn’t much of a defense. Cheney himself didn’t sign off on authorizations like Rumsfeld did, however much Cheney and Addington may have been the instigating forces.
Iago may be morally responsible, but legally Othello killed Desdemona. Cheney didn’t even invent a Iago worthy lie – he just made them afraid by preying on their own perceptions or made them crave his approval to the point where they suspended deference to the law in favor of nicknames and jocular “great minds think alike” hails.
OTOH, I can see where Karma would year for a final scene for Cheney that is more fitting of Shakespeare and of a courtroom.
Demand me nothing. What you know, you know.
From this time forth I never will speak word
Until, you know, I’ve been tortured. Then I’ll say whatever.
Iago may be the one character from Shakespeare Mr. Cheney remembers from Yale. Bush’s is the ultimate responsibility in law. Unless Cheney pulled the lever himself, it’s hard to get around, “The President Authorized It.” In that regard, at least, this catbird knew exactly what he was doing.
42 – Black, McCain’s Iseman firewall, has made some big bucks from ATT – lobbying how and for what may get a little more sunshine, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
32 – I’ll still give Mayer a lot of the credit for that Waxman/England/Mora snippet. Funny that Addington with the VP’s office is accusing someone else of trying to supplant the President’s decision, eh?
I can hear Addington now: “What are you trying to do? Supplanting the President’s decision is our job!”
More OT: Marty Lederman of Balkinization links to a Jeffrey Toobin article in The New Yorker:
I really would hope that the democrats show some guts on this. If they’re guilty, prove it. If not, compensate them and send them home. No more horseshit courts at all.
The fact that Goldsmith, the Administration’s DOJ OLC tame “lawyer” who thought Yoo’s opinions in the OLC were unadulterated crap, primarily views a
kangaroonational-security court as a means to politically embarrass Democrats, is so very telling as to the Repugs idea of “Justice”.
It isn’t about the detainees, it’s about scoring political points against Democrats. And he has no shame in publicly admitting this.
Then, again, I hope the democrats respond in kind. Barack Obama seems to have a way with words…
Words mean nothing as far as “responding in kind”. It is a waste of oxygen. He, and every other Democrat as well, should DO something, and pledge to keep doing it until the job is done if elected.
Luskin provides statement, says Rove willing to testify before Congress in the Siegelman case, live interview with the Governor on msnbc now.
Quick, lock him into testifying before he wakes up!
Can he sign something in writing.
And since in the GQ interview, he also refused to talk about the DOJ firings, can we make it a two for one deal. After all, if he’s willing to talk about his role in the Siegelman case, why not the USA firings?
And I’d recommend that “only” women be allowed to
“Give it up Karly! You know you want to. Momma will make it all better!”
46 – MD, Katyal is a pretty smart guy and so I’ll overcome my first reaction to dismiss anything that has Goldsmith’s name. But I did think that it was interesting what “motivates” Goldsmith on this front. From your link/quote:
Goldsmith could give a rats ass about the families he’s destroyed, the children whose parents were disappeared, the children who were disappeared, the London chefs, the Chinese dissidents, the Germans in the wrong place at the wrong time; he helped insure they were all bound for torture and for being safely tucked away, beyond the reach of habeas, so the years and years of ongoing depravity could continue, unabated, while he tuck’s his tenure around him and sleeps like a baby at night.
He’s doesn’t care at all about the people held in concentrated population camps throughout Afghanistan and Iraq, or at Guantanmo. He wants to smugly offer up something to help the Republicans come up with a tool to use against the Democrats. I can’t really imagine how you get more repulsive.
Not to mention that would further cover his fat rear by clouding the whole gig up even more.
Continuing the OT re natsecCourts, Katyal and Goldsmith have had that paper available for months. I was chagrined that Katyal would subsume his otherwise insightful energies and constitutional law expertise beneath the tarp of a very risky proposition such as that in a neocon dominated administration plumbed with stovepipery; it reads like some theoretical documents from the 1930s. Those officials are looking ever more intensively for camoflage as exposure increases while congress continues multiple investigations. The prospect for the 111th congress is worse exposure for the folks that hoodwinked congress into some of the seamier initiatives Bush signed. But I guess Katyal remains working with some other good folks still shaking the structure of the showTrial prelude for their client whose case Scotus used for a vehicle to shore up Geneva CA3 rights for humanity’s sake, although that opinion skipped comment on some of the wildest neocon schemes about unitary fourth branchdom. It seems Ew is right that people in posts like Haynes’ likely are central for making progress writing a faithful history of who gave Yoo the keys to the car. Maybe they can ask Rice what she knows about how Yeltsin and Putin diminished the political prisoner population as the modern Russia developed from the ashes of CCCP. Neocon inspired habeaslessness will have more backwash than the afterlife of final disposition for former detainees; there are all the trained torture experts who are both contractors and regular military who will be facing ordeals like LEngland’s; countries following conflicts have to address that reintegration factor and the shattered lives and displaced and, in this instance, inverted, value systems of its own protagonists after discharge.