Padilla Perplex


Everybody's favorite alleged dirty bomber is back in the news. The feds have (finally) (publicly) outlined their case against Jose Padilla, who's accused of scheming with Al Qaeda to plant nuclear devices and blow up other buildings.

That knowledge, says the feds, comes from interrogations of him and associates over the past two years while Padilla has been in custody.

Why is the government talking about Padilla now? The most likely reason is that the Supreme Court is about to rule on whether it's legal to keep citizens incarcerated indefinitely as "enemy combatants." From one news account:

With the Justice Department under pressure to explain its indefinite detention of a U.S. citizen as an "enemy combatant," [Deputy Attorney General James] Comey outlined a series of alleged admissions made by Padilla. He asserted that if Padilla had been handled by the more conventional criminal justice system, he could have stayed silent and "would likely have ended up a free man."

The Supreme Court is considering Padilla's challenge to the government's authority to designate U.S. citizens enemy combatants and deny them quick access to lawyers or courts.

Padilla's lawyer, Andrew Patel, said the government once again is saying "bad things about" about Padilla without offering a "forum for him to defend himself." He accused the government of making "an opening statement without a trial."