Andrew Napolitano on How the Feds Bungled the Ali Saleh al-Marri Case


Ali Saleh al-Marri is a convicted conspirator who entered the United States before 9/11 in order to create a sleeper cell here. When the feds woke from their slumber on 9/11, they wisely began to search immigration records for persons who came here with no discernible purpose from places known to spawn terrorist groups and who had overstayed their visas. Al-Marri was one such person. The feds arrested him, originally on the visa violation, and then, after connecting the dots, on a series of conspiracies to aid terrorist organizations here and elsewhere. But while he was being held in federal custody, al-Marri was kidnapped by U.S. military officials purporting to possess the lawful authority to seize him, authorized by President George W. Bush himself, as an "enemy combatant."

Al-Marri is in the news this week because he was recently released from a federal prison and returned to his native Qatar. He was involved in a prisoner swap for an innocent American couple wrongfully imprisoned there. The release of al-Marri has the neocons accusing President Obama of "letting free a known terrorist." But the feds shot themselves in the foot on this al-Marri case, writes Andrew Napolitano. They had much evidence against him. They needn't have kept him naked, blindfolded, shackled and wearing earplugs for months. He should have been prosecuted aggressively and humanely in a federal court.