The senior Senator from Indiana, Sen. Richard Lugar, has now intervened in the Boston College case, writing to Attorney General Eric Holder. Lugar’s intervention follows letters to Holder from Senators John Kerry and Charles Schumer expressing concern over the legal pursuit of archived material stored in the college’s library and dealing with the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Lugar’s move adds a bipartisan twist to the political efforts to prevent the turning over of files to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. Lugar is a prominent Republican while Kerry and Schumer are leading Democrats.
Lugar has asked AG Holder for the Department of Justice’s “official position” on the Boston College subpoenas.
According to journalist and author Ed Moloney, one of the principle compilers of the BC archive, Lugar’s interest derives from the fact that he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when the US-UK extradition treaty was ratified.
“It exempted pre-Good Friday Agreement offences from the scope of the treaty, an exemption that many believe also applies to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which was ratified by the U.S. Senate at exactly the same time and which has been used to enforce the Boston College subpoenas,” Moloney said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the attorneys for Moloney and co-archivist Anthony McIntyre have responded to a letter from the U.S. Attorney handling the BC case, Carmen Ortiz, which was sent to a panel of appeals court judges after the court heard arguments in the case.
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In the letter, also mailed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, attorneys Eamon Dornan and James Cotter stated that they “could not find any provisions in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure or U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit’s Rulebook which would permit the Department of Justice to make further submissions or communications once the Panel has risen following oral argument.
“However, in the best interests of our clients, we feel compelled to respond and request that you kindly bring this letter to the attention of the Panel.”
The attorneys wrote that it was their “respectful submission” that the Department of Justice’s letter “merely confirms that the
District Court’s denial of the Appellants’ motion to intervene prevented them from providing evidence that is essential to assessing their claims that the Government’s position poses a grave risk of physical harm to the Appellants and their families.”
This is a reference to Anthony McIntyre in particular. McIntyre lives in Ireland and his family is of the view that he is in physical danger as a result of the archives being opened for inspection by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which initiated the action resulting in Boston College having to open the archive at its Burns Library.
Both Moloney, who lives in New York, and McIntyre, sought and failed to intervene as interested parties in the case and it was this unsuccessful bid that led to the appeals court hearing.
In her post-hearing letter to the appeals judges, DA Ortiz disputed claims made during the hearing that the release of archives resulted in danger to the appellants, Moloney and McIntyre. Moloney described the writing of the letter as an “extraordinary” and “perhaps unprecedented” legal moves.