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William J. Haynes, II

William James "Jim" Haynes II (born March 30, 1958 in Waco, Texas) is an American lawyer, and former General Counsel of the United States Department of Defense during president George W. Bush's administration. Haynes resigned as General Counsel in February 2008. From 2003 until 2007, he was a nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Haynes graduated from Davidson College and Harvard Law School. He has been General Counsel of the Department of the Army, a partner with the law firm of Jenner & Block, and an associate general counsel of General Dynamics Corporation.


Fourth Circuit nomination under Bush

In 2003, Haynes was nominated by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. His nomination drew strong opposition from Democrats and even from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.[1] In January 2007, Haynes announced that he would withdraw from consideration for nomination to the Court of Appeals.[2]

Opposition to U.S. service members accessing the federal courts

In 2002 the Army Times editorial board was critical of the Department of Defense (DoD) trying to undercut servicemembers from accessing the federal courts regarding military personnel issues.[3] Haynes had submitted various proposals to Congress, in the DoD's 2002 budget proposal, in an attempt to shut out service members accessing the federal courts to challenge military personnel issues such as promotions, retention actions, separations, retirement, enlistments and re-enlistements. Haynes' proposals failed because Congress didn't adopt any of them.

A front page article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal reported that Haynes opposed giving members of the U.S. Armed Forces access to the Supreme Court of the United States if they are court-martialed. In February 2006 he wrote letters to Congress opposing the Equal Justice for Our Military Act, which was pending in the 109th Congress. Haynes opined that "there is no apparent justification to modify the current review process, thereby increasing the burden upon the Supreme Court and counsel to address the myriad of matters that would be encountered with expanded certiorari jurisdiction." [4] The next month, in March 2006, Navy veteran Norbert Basil MacLean III lobbied lawmakers with twenty-two years of military justice statistics showing that over 80 percent of all court-martialed service members are completely shut out of seeking U.S. Supreme Court review.[5] In August 2006 the American Bar Association issued a report and passed a resolution urging Congress to give servicemembers Supreme Court access.[6]

In July 2007 Representative Susan A. Davis (D-Calif.) reintroduced the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2007, HR 3174. And in September 2007 Senators Dianne Feinstein and Arlen Specter introduced bipartisan identical legislation entitled the Equal Justice for United States Military Personnel Act of 2007, S 2052 in the Senate. On September 27, 2008 during floor debate on HR 3174 in the U.S. House of Representatives Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Texas) cited a February 6, 2006 Haynes letter in support of his opposition to servicemembers having equal access to the U.S. Supreme Court.[7] After debate the House passed HR 3174 by voice vote of a two-thirds super majority.[7]

Role in helping develop the use of "extended interrogation techniques"

Shortly after September 26, 2002, a Gulfstream jet carrying David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, John Rizzo, Haynes, two Justice Department lawyers, Alice S. Fisher and Patrick F. Philbin, and the Office of Legal Counsel's Jack Goldsmith flew to Camp Delta to view Mohammed al-Kahtani, then to Charleston, South Carolina to view Jose Padilla, and finally to Norfolk, Virginia to view Yaser Esam Hamdi.[8]

On July 7, 2004 The United States Navy's General Counsel, Alberto J. Mora responded to a request from Albert Church, the Navy's Inspector General for information about the role his office played in the development of questionable interrogation techniques.[9] Mora's narrative described learning, from David Brant, the Director of NCIS, that questionable interrogation techniques were being practiced at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Mora described immediately calling meetings of the Navy's most senior legal staff, who all concurred the techniques were questionable and dangerous.

According to Mora's narrative, he met with Haynes on December 20, 2002, January 9, 2003, and January 15, 2003. Mora described being surprised to learn, when he returned from his vacation, that the questionable interrogation techniques had not been rescinded.

In his comments about the January 15, 2003 meeting Mora recorded:

"In the later meeting, which Mr. Dell'Orto attended, Mr Haynes returned the draft memo to me. He asked whether I was not aware about how he felt about the issues or the impact of my actions. I responded that I did not and, with respect to his own views, I had no idea whether he agreed totally with my arguments, disagreed totally with them, or held an intermediate view"

War Crimes Prosecution

In November, 2006, the German government received a complaint seeking the prosecution of Mr. Haynes for alleged war crimes. The complaint alleges that during his tenure, he was legally responsible for the US torture programs. The charges have since been withdrawn due to a lack of substantial evidence.[10]

The plaintiff's legal strategy for the prosecution of Mr. Haynes and his co-defendant lawyers is to attempt to use the precedent of the Nuremberg trials, where German jurists whose legal work was complicit in Nazi atrocities were prosecuted.[11]

In March 2009 Baltasar Garzón, a Spanish judge who has considered international war crimes charges against other high-profile figures, considered whether to allow charges to be laid against Haynes and five other former officials of the George W. Bush Presidency.[12]

Guantanamo trials

Morris Davis, a former chief prosecutor of the Guantanamo military commissions, spoke out about his instructions from Haynes in late February 2008.[13] The Edmonton Journal quoted an interview Davis provided The Nation:

"I said to (Haynes) that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process."
"At which point, his eyes got wide and he said, 'Wait a minute, we can't have acquittals. If we've been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? . . . We've got to have convictions.'"

Featured in the 2008 Academy award-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side [14]


In February 2008, Haynes resigned from his position as the Defense Department's general counsel.[15] He started his new job as the Chief Corporate Counsel at the Chevron Corporate Office in San Ramon, CA on April 28, 2008.


  1. ^ Jerry Markon, Michael D. Shear (December 18, 2006). "Conservatives' Grip on Key Virginia Court Is at Risk". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  2. ^ New York Times, January 10, 2007
  3. ^ EDITORIAL: Equal rights for soldiers, Army Times, 2002
  4. ^ "Momentum Grows for Opening High Court to Servicemembers" by Laura Ernde, Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 17, 2007, front page
  5. ^ Legislative Research Incorporated, "The Military Justice System: 1983-84 Through 2004-05: Twenty-two Years of Key Statistical Findings" (March 30, 2006) Preface by Norbert Basil MacLean III, presented to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Judiciary Committees of the 109th Congress and to the Clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
  6. ^ American Bar Association Resolution 116, adopted by ABA House of Delegates on August 7-8, 2006
  7. ^ a b U.S. Congress. House (2008) Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2007 Congressional Record - House H10623-24 (September 27, 2008)
  8. ^ Jane Mayer (2008). The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. Random House. p. 199. ISBN 9780307456298. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  9. ^ Alberto J. Mora (July 7, 2004). "Memorandum from Navy General Counsel Alberto J. Mora to Navy Inspector General" (PDF). United States Navy. Retrieved May 5, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Criminal Complaint". Center for Constitutional Rights. Retrieved May 8, 2007. 
  11. ^ {{cite web | url= | title=Nuernberg Military Tribunal: Volume III · Page 985 | accessdate=May 8, 2007
  12. ^ "Spain may decide Guantanamo probe this week". Reuters. 2009-03-28. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  mirror
  13. ^ Steven Edwards (February 25, 2008). "Head of Guantanamo trials resigns". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-25. "The Pentagon official overseeing the planned military trials of Canadian Omar Khadr and other terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba resigned Monday - just days after a published report alleged he'd insisted there be no acquittals." 
  14. ^
  15. ^ David Frueh (February 25, 2008). "DOD general counsel Haynes announces resignation". Jurist. 

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