LETTER: Irish American Groups Against Subpoenas Want Action From Eric Holder


June 4, 2013

Mr. Eric H. Holder Jr.
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D. C. 20510

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The litigation challenging the U.K. subpoena of records in the Irish archives of Boston College is at an end. The First Circuit Court of Appeals severely restricted the scope of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) subpoena of the British government. This is a partial vindication of the litigants appeal and a rejection of the rubber-stamping of the subpoena request by your Department.

We have argued that the subpoena request of Britain is a misuse of the MLAT process which you must reject pursuant to three justifications provided for in the ratification documents.

Those reasons are:

  • To grant the request would impair the essential interests of the U.S.;
  • To do so would be contrary to important policy considerations; and
  • The request is based on an offense of a political character.

Secretary of State Kerry has publicly specified that to grant the request would undermine the 1998 Belfast Agreement and representations made during the Senate ratification of the 2006 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Agreement.

The Secretary also expressed concern for the threat the subpoenas posed to constitutional freedoms and academic inquiry.

With respect to the political character of this request, you need only reference the decisions of federal jurist Naomi Rice Buchwald, Judge Juan Torruella of the First circuit Court of Appeals as well as British policy in effect in 1972.

In addition to the above considerations, we believe granting England’s request after their admission of murdering attorney Patrick Finucane offends every American’s sense of the rule of law and justice.

We again ask for you to reject the MLAT request.

We again ask to meet with you to discuss this matter further.

We hope and trust you will have the courtesy to dignify our request and promptly respond to our arguments with specificity.


Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Sean Downes Esq.
Brehon Law Society

Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
National President
Irish American Unity Conference