Thursday, May 10, 2007

Delahunt: Detain Posada now

Rep. Bill Delahunt writes to the Attorney General to ask why Luis Posada Carriles has not been designated as an alien who has “engaged in terrorist activity” under the Patriot Act, and kept in federal detention on that basis. The Administration’s own statements, as the letter outlines, make the case for taking that step.

The Administration may yet do the right thing. But as the stumbling and bumbling in the Texas immigration fraud case show, the Administration has not put its “A” team on the field.

In the case of Islamic terrorist suspects, we have press conferences by the Attorney General, reinterpretations of the Geneva Convention, limits on habeas corpus, limits on access to attorneys – whatever it takes.

In this case, we have a former prosecutor from Quincy, Massachusetts reminding Alberto Gonzales that the Patriot Act exists.

(H/t: Western Hemisphere Policy Watch.)


leftside said...

That Delahunt letter is something else... the Bush Admin. has one hell of a decision to make. No one seems to know what agency has the next crack - DHS, DOJ or FBI? Behind it all is a CIA/NSA team manuevering hard for Bosch II.

Philip, do you really think there was "stumbling and bumbling" that rose to half the level that would warrant tossing the case? That puts the case on the bureacrats rather than something more sinister. The years have shown things regarding Posada and co. are being managed from the top, including his last get out of jail free card (in Panama, where he was caught with enough C4 (33 lbs) to blow an auditorium and possibly the adjacent hospital.)

Phil Peters said...

I won't second-guess the judge's decision, but the citations in her decision make it pretty clear that the translation was bungled. And that was just one of the grounds for throwing out the indictment. My guess is that it was incompetence. Regardless, the result in Texas clarifies the issue. Now he will either be brought to justice for terrorism-related charges, or he will not.

leftside said...

A bit odd that even Alberto Gonzalez has openly second-guessed the judge's decision, but you will not...

On translation, the examples Judge Cardone cites are very weak. Not one shows intent to deceive or resulted in a significant miscommunication. Posada didn't even have to answer the questions (which he took advantage of mightily). Plus Posada and his lawyer speak fluent English - he was an army translator for god sake. Most of the "errors" were a result of an interrigator who could not formulate coherent questions. The translator was simply trying to make the question understandable by skipping the jibberish and getting to the point. Translations are never word for word. Plus she had to argue the translation rendered Posada's testimony unreliable. I don't think any of his responses were even citesd as badly translated.

The judge may have had other valid points about the executive's job to identify and try terrorists, but to criticize investigators for daring to ask questions about Posada's past seems a little much in the context of a required "moral character" finding. Lawyers and prosecutors are saying they've never read anything like this decision.