This is a book about a Jewish victim of 9/11. She was not persecuted because of her faith. Rather, she was hounded when she, as a government-employed lawyer, told the government that it was breaking the law.
Her job required her to do just that — she worked at the Department of Justice for seven years as a trial attorney and a legal ethics adviser.
When the government ignored her advice and began to harass her, she decided to go public and became a whistle-blower. This intensified the government’s efforts to discredit her. She lost two jobs but felt vindicated because the government could not prove its cases against her. Rather, the government had to retreat. She is now working as the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, a prominent whistleblower organization, and she is assisting other whistle-blowers.
As author Glenn Greenwald says in his foreword: “The Obama Administration is steadfastly protecting from prosecution — or judicial review of any kind — the high-level government officials who systematically broke the law during the Bush administration. Torture is one of the most glaring examples of this lawbreaking. In June 2002, Jesselyn Radack exposed one of the first cases of torture post-9/11–being used on an American–in the case of John Walker Lindh. Her sobering book should be required reading for all first-year law students because it shows poignantly how ‘national security’ is being used to fundamentally bastardize constitutional law, criminal procedure, human rights, civil liberties and legal ethics. As a Justice Department attorney she advised that an American terrorism suspect should be afforded the right to counsel, one of the most basic tenets of our criminal justice system. When her advice was disregarded and then ‘disappeared,’ she blew the whistle.”
“Government overzealousness and misconduct caused the Bush administration’s first high-profile terrorism prosecution to implode, and the government punished Radack unmercifully — putting her under a criminal ‘leak’ investigation, referring her to the state bars in which she’s licensed as an attorney, and putting her on the ‘No-Fly’ List. But it took the Obama Administration to actually prosecute whistleblowers, and all six (more such prosecutions than have occurred under in all previous Administrations combined) have been charged under the draconian, World War 1-era Espionage Act.”
He goes on to say: “Indeed, abusing secrecy powers to conceal embarrassing and incriminating information has long been illegal. Abusing government secrecy powers is a vastly more frequent and damaging illegal act than unauthorized leaks, yet the president obsesses on the latter while doing virtually nothing about the former other than continuing its worst manifestations…. As the Supreme Court explained, few things are more damaging to a democracy than allowing political leaders to abuse secrecy powers to cover-up wrongdoing and control the flow of information the public hears; i.e., to propagandize the citizenry.”
Radack writes about the only American Taliban — John Walker Lindh. He was shot in the leg and suffered from dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite when U.S. soldiers captured him in Afghanistan.
They threatened to kill him, blindfolded and trussed him, wrote “shithead” on the blindfold and duct-taped him to a board for days in an unheated shipping container.
Radack cautioned her superiors in the Justice Department against the torture and interrogating Lindh without his lawyer, as required by the law. When her advice was ignored and evidence of her advice destroyed and withheld from the court, she blew the whistle.
She says the Justice Department forced her out of her job, placed her under criminal investigation, had her fired from her next job in the private sector, reported her to the state bars where she was licensed and put her on the “no-fly” list.
This book contains Radack’s account and we do not get all sides of the story. But what she says sounds plausible and is line with the actions of the Bush and Obama administrations in their relentless war on terrorism that victimizes the innocent as well and places the U.S. above the law.
Radack explains her desire to speak out in the following words: “I feel a moral imperative … because if people understand how a person like me who enjoys relative privilege — being white, a U.S. citizen, educated, and comfortably middle class — can so easily lose her freedom, then maybe people in this country can more easily understand the plight of those in post 9/11 America who are Arab or Muslim, who are immigrants, who are poor, or who don’t speak English.”
Radack details how U.S. authorities violated U.S. law in the way they treated an American suspect on American soil. The U.S. hounded her for several years.
This book describes her fight with the government and her vindication. It is an insider’s story of how lawless and ruthless U.S. administrations have become in their war against terror.