MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Human Rights Group Hires Man Who Oversaw 'Indiscriminate and Haphazard' Detentions

Michael Chertoff gets a post at Freedom House.

Department of Homeland SecurityDepartment of Homeland SecurityWhen I hear the phrase "human rights," the first words that jump to my mind are not "Michael Chertoff." In the wake of 9/11, the then–assistant attorney general helped write the USA Patriot Act; he also played a central role in detaining hundreds of Arabs and Muslims without filing charges against them, a roundup that the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General later called "indiscriminate and haphazard." After George W. Bush tapped him to run the Department of Homeland Security, Chertoff's intrusive efforts ranged from warrantless ICE raids to a push for a national ID card. Since leaving office, he has been a vocal advocate of installing full-body scanners in airports—and a lobbyist for the companies that manufacture the scanners.

And now he's got a new gig. Freedom House—a much-cited organization that pitches itself as a place that "works to defend human rights and promote democratic change, with a focus on political rights and civil liberties"—sent out a press release this morning:

Freedom House today announced that Michael Chertoff, a former Secretary of Homeland Security and former U.S. Court of Appeals judge, and Executive Chairman of the Chertoff Group, will become chairman of their Board of Trustees in October 2018.

"It will be an honor to lead the Board of an organization that champions the principles and promise of democracy, work that could not be more vital," Chertoff said. "Freedom House was created for this moment, a time of great peril for freedom and democracy. I look forward to working with the superb professional staff to build bipartisan support to defend and strengthen democratic values."

Chertoff will assume the chair's duties from D. Jeffrey Hirschberg at the Board's next meeting, on October 17.

"Judge Chertoff has long earned respect for his integrity, intellect, and commitment to democracy and the basic freedoms that Freedom House works to advance, said Hirschberg.

You can read the rest here. I especially enjoyed the part that says Chertoff "provides strategic counsel to enterprise and government leaders on a range of security issues." Just the sort of résumé that a human rights group looks for, amirite?

Photo Credit: Department of Homeland Security

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    This guy again?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    """Judge Chertoff has long earned respect for his integrity, intellect, and commitment to democracy and the basic freedoms that Freedom House works to advance, said Hirschberg.""

    Really??

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Only Nixon could go to China.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Just the sort of résumé that a human rights group looks for, amirite?

    I don't know, maybe they want an asshole on staff to figure out what the other assholes are thinking?

  • sarcasmic||

    Fox, meet Hen House. Hen House, meet Fox.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Leave SIV out of this.

  • Eddy||

    This is too bad, since Freedom House was supposed to be a credible alternative to the moral equivalence-mongering of the likes of Amnesty International. By actually ranking countries, in a system where the U. S. comes out looking good, Freedom House was supposed to show who the worst offenders are.

    But this requires that they give evidence to reassure the public that they're not simply regurgitating the American establishment's talking points - and making a National ID zealot such a significant figure in their group they're not exactly being reassuring.

  • Robert||

    Makes it look like they're for freedom in every country other than the one they're HQd in.

  • Jerryskids||

    "Freedom House was created for this moment, a time of great peril for freedom and democracy. I look forward to working with the superb professional staff to build bipartisan support to defend and strengthen democratic values."

    What in particular do you suppose makes this "a time of great peril for freedom and democracy"? And freedom and democracy aren't really partisan issues so why's he talking about "bipartisan support"? You don't suppose he's talking about one particular threat to freedom and democracy that both Democrats and Republicans want to see defeated do you?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    It's a line left over from his scare tactics box used to convince people that his actions are not anti-freedom.

  • ||

    "Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like 'freedom is slavery' when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." (1.5.30, Syme)

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Freedom House, 2016, got 85.5% of their money from USG. It is known to toe the USG line when it comes to who is "bad" and who is "good". They are certainly infiltrated by the intelligence community to one degree or another. Brother Chertoff should feel right at home.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You hire the best man for the job.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    One heck of a job Michael.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Yes he does look like a vampire. My very first instinctive thought was, "So this is what that Digby the friendly undertaker from the Life of Riley looks like."

  • Robert||

    Can't stop laughing at that one.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online