Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Jose Can You See A Reason?

I hate Reason's Matt Welch!

He basically wrote the nice, clean, detailed article on the Jose "Don't Call Me A Dirty Bomber" Padilla case -- that I had planned to put together today!

Read it here. It's
great. He rightly keys in on the overlooked government public statement about Padilla -- the remarkable press conference last year by Deputy Attorney General James Comey, which laid out a stunning bill-of-particulars against Padilla. Alas, hardly any of them in the actual indictment filed against Padilla on Tuesday.

Matt gets right to the heart of the problem Padilla poses for the administration and for the country:
Don't you want to know whether Jose Padilla, the American citizen held as an enemy combatant from June 2002 until this week, was indeed conspiring—or even
ringleading—a plot to set off a "dirty bomb" somewhere inside the United States?

I sure as hell do, and not just because a negative answer would give people like me another chance to complain that the ends aren't even living up to the means, let alone justifying them.

It's actually to the contrary. I'm begging for confirmation that the "
"—who was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on three counts having zilch to do with making bombs or planning acts of domestic terrorism—was indeed "a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode a adiological dispersion device, or 'dirty bomb,' in the United States" (as then–Attorney General John Ashcroft initially alleged), because if he was, there might finally be a half-convincing real-world argument to support the Bush Administration's expansion of Executive Branch power at the expense of our constitutional liberties.

Government secrecy is not only bad for the common citizen; it makes it harder for the government to continue making credible case for policies that arguably are in the legitimate best interests of the country. As we all know, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact." At the same time, that document was designed with the idea that granting the people more access to information ultimately makes for the best form of continuing self-government.

Read Matt's whole thing.

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