From: NY Transfer News
Subject: Senators Question Unconstitutional Detention of Padilla
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 04:46:25 -0400
Organization: NY Transfer News
NNTP-Posting-Date: 14 Jun 2002 08:45:10 GMT
User-Agent: Pan/0.11.3 (Unix)
Senators Question Unconstitutional Detention of Padilla
Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit
[Republicans Arlen Specter and John McCain have remembered there's
something called a Bill of Rights. Specter wants to call
Congressional hearings on the latest Constitutional violations by
Dummy, Rummy, Scummy & Co. Demonstrating once again that the USA is
governed by One Party with Two Names, New York's very own 'liberal'
Democrat, Charles Schumer, thinks there's no problema, and illegal
detention is just cool.]
Miami Herald - June 12, 2002
Two senators questioning detention without charges
by James Kuhnhenn and Cassio Furtado
Herald Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Two top Republic senators are questioning why terrorist
suspect Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, is being detained outside the
criminal justice system without charges.
"There is going to be a lot of public concern about how you treat a
United States citizen," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., a former
prosecutor and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I think
that guy's got to be kept in detention, but I think the definition is a
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., added that "the attorney general has to come
up with a rationale for why they're doing this. They've got to make
Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said during a visit to
Qatar Tuesday that the administration is in no hurry to bring Padilla --
accused of helping to plan a "dirty bomb" attack in the United States
-- to justice.
"Our interest, really, in this case, is not law enforcement. It is not
punishment," Rumsfeld said. "Because he was a terrorist, or working
with terrorists, our interest at the moment is to try to find out
everything he knows so hopefully we can stop other terrorist acts."
Padilla, 31, is confined indefinitely in a military brig in Charleston,
S.C., as a "military combatant," which means he can be detained for an
unspecified period without facing trial.
Padilla's attorney complained on Tuesday that detention is punitive by
its nature and said the military was holding him unconstitutionally.
"My client is a citizen," Donna R. Newman said outside federal court
in New York where she had filed a writ of habeas corpus, which would
require Padilla to be brought to court.
"He still has constitutional rights -- the right to counsel, the right
to be charged by a grand jury. They have not charged him," Newman said.
Sen. Specter called Tuesday for congressional hearings, arguing that the
right to set up military tribunals rests with Congress.
Other lawmakers, including liberal Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer of New
York, sided with the administration.
"If you aid and abet the enemy, whether you are a citizen or not,
you're not entitled to the right of due process," Schumer said.
Padilla's military custody stands in sharp contrast to the manner in
which the administration handled terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, a
French citizen, and John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban apprehended
Both now face criminal charges in federal court. Padilla, arrested in
Chicago on May 8, was detained as a material witness for a grand jury
investigation until he was handed over to the Pentagon.
"Lindh has been charged under criminal provisions," Specter said. "So
you really wonder what the differences are between Lindh and this guy."
Senior government officials have said that Padilla discussed the bomb
plot with al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan, among them Abu
Zubaydah, the aide to Osama bin Laden who was captured in Pakistan in
March, and who later told U.S. officials about the bomb plan. It is
believed that Padilla met with Zubaydah as recently as March, just
before Zubaydah was captured.
U.S. officials said another al Qaeda associate involved in the alleged
plan is being held by Pakistani authorities.
They said the man, who has not been publicly identified but is from an
Arab country in the Middle East, is being interrogated by U.S.
authorities at an undisclosed location. There were conflicting reports
as to whether Pakistan had handed the suspect over to U.S. authorities.
The second suspect traveled with Padilla to eastern Afghanistan last
fall to meet Zubaydah and later accompanied Padilla to secret meetings
with other senior al Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan to discuss the
"dirty bomb" proposal as well as potential attacks against hotels, gas
stations and other targets, the official said.
One of the most urgent aspects of the investigation is whether Padilla
had other accomplices, particularly in the United States.
"He clearly had associates, and one of the things we want to ask him
about is who those associates were and how we can track them down,"
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said on CBS's Early Show.
One law-enforcement official Tuesday cautioned that no specific target
city or mode of carrying out the bombing had been determined. The
official said it was not clear whether al Qaeda's leaders had fully
embraced Padilla or the plan, which he had proposed to them.
"There is no indication he had the means to do it or was given the
authority to do it," the official said.
Neither a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office nor Newman would
comment on the grand jury investigation of Padilla.
But officials said he had not offered any information of value.
"He was not forthcoming," one official said.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said in the Padilla case that authorities
were acting under a 1942 Supreme Court precedent "which establishes
that the military may detain a United States citizen who has joined the
enemy or has entered our country to carry out hostile acts."
Drew Brown of The Herald's Washington Bureau contributed to this report,
which was supplemented with information from Herald wire services.
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