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Retired military officers criticize federal bench nomination of top DOD counsel

[JURIST] A group of twenty retired military officers has submitted a letter [PDF text] to the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] expressing "deep concern" about the fitness of William Haynes II [official profile; resumé], the current Pentagon general counsel, to serve as a federal judge. The twenty officers, including former commander of US forces in the Middle East, Marine Gen. Joseph. Hoar [SourceWatch profile], and former chief of staff of Secretary for State Colin Powell, Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson [official profile], believe that Haynes may not be suited for a federal judgeship because he approved coercive interrogation techniques for terror suspects. The letter adds concerns that Haynes "compromised military values, ignored federal and international law," and recommended that interrogators use dogs to scare detainees. Human Rights First [advocacy website] expressed similar concerns [press release; HRF materials] Monday about Haynes' character and fitness for the bench, and urged the Senate to closely examine Haynes' record and public statements.

President Bush nominated Haynes to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] in 2003, but Democrats in the last Congress blocked his nomination. Bush resubmitted Haynes' nomination [JURIST report] in 2004. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a nomination hearing [press release] for Haynes on Tuesday afternoon. Bloomberg has more.

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