Spy, Adulterer, Whatever


The case against Capt. James J. Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, seems to be dissolving before the government's eyes. Originally accused of espionage, he was held in the brig for 76 days, after which he was charged only with mishandling classified material, plus some minor offenses having nothing to do with security, including adultery and keeping pornography on his government computer. Now it turns out the classified material he supposedly mishandled may not have been classified after all. The prosecution has asked for a postponement in Yee's pre-trial hearing so it can determine the nature of the documents found in his luggage. One of his defense lawyers, Maj. Scott Sikes, told The New York Times

he hoped the military would decide to drop the case. He said he believed that the military was pressing ahead as part of an unwise effort to save face over its initial miscalculation.

The case, he noted, "started out with allegations of being a spy."

"There has since been a steady decline in the seriousness of the allegations," Major Sikes said.

Major Sikes, a former military prosecutor, said, "This is the most incredible military proceeding this military counsel has ever seen."

Not only is Yee not a spy, apparently, but his only crimes may be petty stuff incidentally dredged up by the government's investigation. The case illustrates once again the importance of an open, adversarial process, especially when the public is inclined to join the government in its rush to judgment.