Skip to comments.Michael Chertoff - New HomeLand Security Secretary per Fox News
Posted on 01/11/2005 6:41:46 AM PST by crushelits
Michael Chertnof - New HomeLand Security Secretary per Fox News
If he is the DC lawyer, we have tooooo many lawyers already.
Nominated to: U.S Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
Status of nomination: Confirmed 6/9/03
Michael Chertoff is currently the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division. He has had a long career in Republican legal circles and has been an active member of the Federalist Society for many years. Chertoff is known as a tough prosecutor and single-minded advocate whose demeanor has been described as "intimidating" by those who work with him. 1
Though Chertoff is a loyal Republican, he has refrained from aligning himself with the right wing of the party, particularly on social issues. He has not compiled a public record of pushing ideological extremes on issues such as abortion, school prayer or vouchers.
Michael Chertoff received a "well qualified" rating from the American Bar Association. There is little doubt that he is a talented attorney and an intelligent, committed public servant. Nevertheless, his behavior in the Whitewater investigation and his current role in the War Against Terrorism raise questions about his ethics and his belief in the civil liberties of all people. Senators should question him carefully on both these matters.
49 years old
Married to Meryl Chertoff, two children
U.S. Justice Department: Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division Chertoff was nominated as head of the Criminal Division under Attorney General John Ashcroft by President Bush. His nomination was seen originally as a balance to the more right wing, ideologically-driven and controversial Ashcroft.
Since September 11th, however, Chertoff has played a key role in the war against terrorism, pursuing an aggressive agenda against suspected terrorists and Arab Americans from countries that the U.S. government claims have strong terrorism networks. Chertoff supervised the prosecution of the Zacarias Moussaoui case and has been described as "the driving force behind the Justice Department's most controversial initiatives in the war on terrorism." 3 Civil liberties advocates blame him for what they see as dangerous curtailments to free speech and the rights of criminal defendants. According to press reports, Chertoff has played a key role in several matters: first, the increase in FBI agentsÂ authority to conduct domestic surveillance; second, the use of "material witness" warrants to lock up people of Middle Eastern dissent; third, the interviewing of thousands of Middle Eastern men who entered the United States before and after the 9/11 attacks; fourth, the aggressive prosecution of Moussaoui, despite concern that the FBI had not found sufficient evidence to link him to the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. ChertoffÂs has not only played on active role in these cases, he has also been the first to defend controversial Justice Department policies. He spoke up for the government's right to hold suspects indefinitely without counsel as "enemy combatants," as well as the government's decision to interview 5,000 Arab Americans after the 9/11 attacks.
1 USA Today, Tony Locy and Kevin Johnson, 8-14-02
2 The Record, Editorial, 3-11, 2003
3 USA Today, Tony Locy and Kevin Johnson, 8-14-02
Related Chertoff Resources:
his resume. never heard his name before. dunno...
Libs wont like him. Saw an article called "Michael Chertnof, Ashcrofts Top Gremlin"
This guy got into Harvard at 16????
Whitewater investigation--that will go over really well with the 'Rats. teehee!
I remember him from the early days of the Whitewater investigations. I think he will make a very good Sec of HS. And after reading the following synopsis, I'm even more in favor of him.
I thought he was pretty good as the Republican council on D'Amato's Whitewater committee - especially when he asked Hubbel about Lippo and Lasater about Mena. That was as close as anybody got.
This ought to be interesting, LOLOL
Born in 1953, entered Harvard in 1971.
That bio says he's nominated to the 3rd Circuit. Which is it: HS or 3rd Circuit?
He was our lawyer during the WhiteWater hearings.
|Bush to Name Homeland Security Chief|
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
WASHINGTON President Bush on Tuesday will name federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff (search) as his nominee to be the next homeland security secretary, FOX News has confirmed.
The announcement is expected to be made at 10 a.m. EST, the White House said. Chertoff will have to be confirmed by the Senate before he can take over for retiring Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge (search).
Bernard Kerik (search) the former New York Police commissioner who was in charge during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was the president's first pick for the job but Kerik withdrew his name from consideration after news surfaced that he had an illegal nanny, among other questionable dealings.
Ridge announced his resignation Nov. 30. He plans to remain in the job until Feb. 1, unless the Senate confirms his successor earlier.
Chertoff was a U.S. attorney in New Jersey before he became special counsel for the Whitewater Committee in the U.S. Senate. He was then a partner with the firm, Latham and Watkins, then joined the Justice Department as an assistant attorney general within the criminal division.
Chertoff is a great pick! "The Killer" rocks!
Chertoff isn't just some DC lawyer. Those of us who watched the Watergate hearings remember Chertoff as the thin, balding, reedy-voiced side-kick to Alphonse D'Amato.
I think we were ill-served by D'Amato in those hearings, but Chertoff did a darned good job.
By ELAINE CASSEL
I have been watching John Ashcroft so long that it is getting to be a little boring. Promising to use all available means to "fight terrorism," prosecuting every violation of law "to the fullest extent of the law," desperately wanting the death penalty for every possible offense, and, according to his remarks last week before the Senate Judiciary committee, wanting laws changed to impose the death penalty for even more offenses. Ashcroft changes law and procedure by signing Executive Orders, and yes, he can get away with that unless a court stops him. So far, no court has. Some congressional members, damn few, express mild dismay at his tactics, such as locking up resident aliens after 9/11 and holding some of them for months without access to family or lawyers (or charges), then deporting many on the most technical visa violations (some of them the fault of INS, over which he has authority). It never ends-the Ashcroft watch. It only gets worse, and more frightening.
But now I have a new gremlin to watch, someone who is as intent on undermining the law and Constitution as Ashcroft. I am referring to the man behind the criminal prosecution of terrorists, Michael Chertoff. Chertoff, former chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, and a scary looking guy if ever there was one, has been elevated to the level of Court of Appeals judge--the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. What's so scary about Michael? Well, besides having no judicial experience and being a right-ring radical who does not believe in the Constitution and wants to rewrite federal law and rules of procedure on an ad hoc, case by case basis, as it suits him, nothing I guess.
A good place to look for Chertoff's legal philosophy is in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui , now taking place in the Eastern District of Virginia. Chertoff is not the prosecutor of course, Paul McNulty of the Eastern District is. But Chertoff is McNulty's boss and he is calling the shots. So Chertoff argued the government's case in the super secret hearing before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week. The government is trying to block trial judge Leonie Brinkema's ruling that Moussaoui and his lawyers have access to the government's star witnesses against him. The government has refused and appealed. Judge Brinkema, who still believes in the Constitution, rightly ruled that to deny Moussaoui that access is a blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses.
Brinkema indicates that she will not be a party to making exceptions to the Constitution on a case-by-case basis. She, in effect, suggests that maybe Justice better take Moussaoui to Guantanamo and try him there in secret, in the military tribunals they set up. Easy there to not only try him, but convict him, and execute him . So why is the government insisting on keeping him in federal court?
I have the answer, and it lies in Chertoff. Chertoff's goal, I believe, and the goal of Ashcroft and Bush in supporting this prosecution in federal court, is to subject federal trials, as they see fit, to ad hoc exemptions of whatever laws (be they constitutional, criminal code, or rules of procedure) that will suit their purposes. Their grand scheme is to ultimately cripple and dismantle the federal courts as we know them, one brick at a time.
Support for this theory of mine includes their prosecution of attorney Lynne Stewart, for, in effect, zealously representing her client; rules created by Ashcroft that subject attorneys and their clients to surveillance, be they under secret wiretaps issues by the secret FISA court or monitoring of all contacts in prison settings. These procedures came about by fiat from Ashcroft. They make any attorney who represents someone charged with an act of "terrorism" (and a terrorist crime is one defined by Bush and Ashcroft-that is an ad hoc determination, as well).
The Moussaoui case has many examples of legal changes. Moussaoui and even his attorneys (!) cannot receive all documents related to the case, because of "national security" interests. Witnesses may appear in court behind screens (!) so that they cannot be seen. And, the Fourth Circuit hearing last week was closed-closed-for the first time in history. Under Ashcroft we have had secret warrants (or no warrants), secret hearings denying bail, secret trials, and now secret appellate court arguments. Next, we can expect the Supreme Court to be closed, can't we?
The 4th Circuit hearing was close to all but those "screened" and approved by the Justice Department, the Defense Department, and the CIA. The judge presiding over the hearing told the "security" official to jump up if any attorney arguing the case said anything that would jeopardize national security-so that the room could be cleared! Then, as will happen in a trial, the government can proceed out of the presence of the defendant or his attorney. Oh, of course, Moussaoui was not allowed to be at the appellate hearing last week. How is that for a legal system.
Chertoff argued to the 4th Circuit that the Court could not order the government to produce its start witness against Moussaoui because (are you ready?) he, the witness, is out of the country at an undisclosed location. True, but the witness is in the custody of the federal government! The out-of-the country argument is a sham. This is similar to a ruling recently by the federal court that ruled that Guantanmo Bay prisoners had no access to federal courts for claims that they be charged or release because-they are out of the country!! Of course, in federal custody, but that does not matter.
The absurd arguments contrary to the letter and spirit of all that not only the Constitution, but current federal law provides, is appalling and shameful. Chertoff will be making those arguments for the government when they appear before his court (and if you think that appellate judges don't make arguments, you did not hear Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist make Bush's arguments for his attorney, not Solicitor General Ted Olson. And you have not read the rulings of the Fourth Circuit when it denied an American citizen, Yasir Hamdi, the right to see a lawyer. He is locked up in some military brig. He has not been charged with a crime and has been in custody for close to a year. The opinion was a political treatise, not a legal argument. And the treatise-opinion supported the government's argument that courts step back and not conduct meaningful judicial review or, heaven forbid, overrule the government in a time of "war." And that treatise said that the "war" on terror will only be over when the President says it is over, and that the "front" of the war may change from time to time. When the "front" changes, then the government may tighten up surveillance and arrests on that "battleground," which could be Alexandria, Virginia or any city in the country.
This same court will rule on Moussaoui's right to have access to a witness who, by all counts, may help his case and hurt the government. If the 4th Circuit rules that the witness may not be produced, federal law, procedure, and the Constitution will have been violated to support the Bush-Ashcroft agenda. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Michael Chertoff with hardly an argument (though they did conduct an "investigation" into charges that he engaged in some misconduct while at DOJ, which turned up nothing, or so we are told).
Keep your eye on Michael Chertoff. As bad for the law and Constitution as many of Bush's judicial appointees are, Chertoff has been the architect of prosecutions in the "war on terror." And he may have big changes in mind for you, me, the courts, and the Constitution.
This will really piss Hillary off...
June 6, 2003, 7:00 a.m.
Klayman vs. Chertoff
The head of Judicial Watch tries to stop a Bush judicial nominee.
For a while, it looked like smooth sailing for Michael Chertoff.
The Bush administration's nominee for a seat on the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Chertoff is by general agreement a first-rate candidate for the bench. He's been a Supreme Court clerk (for William Brennan), a mob-fighting prosecutor (U.S. attorney for New Jersey), and is now head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
Perhaps the only person who wouldn't be happy with his elevation to the court is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., N.Y.), who no doubt remembers Chertoff's days as counsel to the Senate Whitewater investigation.
But don't blame Mrs. Clinton for the snag that recently hit Chertoff's nomination. Blame Larry Klayman.
You remember Klayman. The head of Judicial Watch, he was a "Clinton antagonist" (in the words of the Washington Post) when he was filing lawsuit after lawsuit against the Clinton administration. Now that he is filing suits against the Bush administration, Klayman is a "watchdog" (in the words of the Washington Post).
Whatever the case, Klayman's latest target is Chertoff.
After breezing through his Judiciary Committee hearing, Chertoff was scheduled for a vote on May 22. Everything looked O.K. until the day before, when Klayman got in touch with some senators to say there were serious concerns about Chertoff's nomination.
The day of the vote, Klayman appeared at the committee meeting and distributed a letter marked "URGENT."
"We have important evidence concerning the misuse of organized crime operatives by the FBI and other government agencies" in New Jersey, the letter began. "During the period of this illegal activity...Michael Chertoff...was U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey." Klayman asked to meet with senators to "present this evidence."
Although Klayman gave no details, some Democrats who have opposed a number of Bush nominees pronounced themselves deeply concerned. They asked that the vote be delayed. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) wanted to go ahead. A compromise was reached when Hatch agreed to a "bipartisan evaluation" of Klayman's charges. The vote was held, and Chertoff was approved, but six deeply concerned Democrats voted "present."
Klayman's "evidence" apparently came from a Judicial Watch client named Peter Paul. Paul, a Hollywood businessman and convicted felon, is a former associate of Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man and other comic book heroes. In 2001, Paul was charged with securities fraud in an alleged stock manipulation scheme involving the company, Stan Lee Media.
Paul has also been a big supporter of Bill Clinton. According to court papers filed by Judicial Watch, Paul wanted Clinton to work with Stan Lee Media after leaving the White House. Paul says he approached members of the Clinton circle and was told the best way he could build a relationship with Bill Clinton would be to contribute to Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign.
So in August 2000, Paul helped put on a huge Hollywood fundraiser for Mrs. Clinton. But the hoped-for business deal with Bill Clinton never materialized. In addition, Paul alleges, Mrs. Clinton concealed his donations from the Federal Election Commission.
So Paul, with help from Larry Klayman, sued the Clintons. "BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON INVOLVED IN MASSIVE ELECTION FINANCE FRAUD," read the Judicial Watch press release. The suit was dismissed, but Paul has appealed.
Judicial Watch also wanted the Justice Department to prosecute the Clintons. In 2001, Klayman met with Criminal Division head Chertoff, asking for immunity for Paul "in exchange for his cooperation with the Justice Department against Bill and Hillary Clinton," according to a letter Klayman wrote the department. Paul never got his deal.
That's how things stood until last week, when, on the eve of the Chertoff vote, Judicial Watch said Paul had incriminating information that might involve...Michael Chertoff. But after a little investigating, the "bipartisan evaluation" found nothing in Judicial Watch's charges. "It was all smoke," says one administration official. Chertoff's nomination will go forward.
The episode left some Republicans angry, and then amused. With no credible evidence, Klayman pulled the wool over Democrats who will grab any reason to stop a Bush nominee. But in their eagerness, they left themselves open to an embarrassing question: If Paul's allegation about Chertoff was credible enough to launch an investigation, then why not his charges against Bill and Hillary Clinton?
Note This article originally appeared in The Hill newspaper, where Byron York writes a column. The day the article was published, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy released the following statement:
The Committee has completed its bi-partisan investigation into allegations raised by the interest group Judicial Watch concerning Michael Chertoff, a nominee for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently reported favorably by the Committee to the full Senate. Consistent with Committee procedure, investigative staff of the Majority and Minority met with representatives of Judicial Watch last week and allowed them to present all relevant evidence relating to Mr. Chertoff. Subsequently, the investigative staff interviewed Mr. Chertoff regarding those allegations. Chairman Hatch and Ranking Democratic Member Leahy have determined that there is no credible evidence linking Mr. Chertoff with any of the wrongdoing alleged by Judicial Watch.
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