The Defense Department may be letting lawyers meet with prisoners held at Guant�namo Bay, Cuba, but comments from a top Pentagon official last week made clear there’s not much love for the detainee defense bar.

In an interview with Federal News Radio, Cully Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, criticized the dozens of law firms across the country representing detainees.

“It’s shocking,” he said, explaining that a Freedom of Information Act request listing all the firms is likely to be “news” in the coming weeks. “I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms. And I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.”

Stimson also questioned who is paying for the legal work. “It’s not clear, is it?” Stimson said in response to the radio host’s question. “Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving monies from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that.”


Emma Schwartz can be contacted at eschwartz@alm.com.