Torture and Detainee Policies Damage Padilla Prosecution

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Apparently the government is unwilling to use the evidence they tortured out of two Al Qaeda suspects and recieved from Padilla for the three years when he was without counsel.

Hmm…wonder why…

Maybe because evidence you get while waterboarding somebody is…oh…I don’t know…not credible?

The Qaeda members were Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, a top recruiter, who gave their accounts to American questioners in 2002 and 2003. The two continue to be held in secret prisons by the Central Intelligence Agency, whose internal reviews have raised questions about their treatment and credibility, the officials said.

One review, completed in spring 2004 by the C.I.A. inspector general, found that Mr. Mohammed had been subjected to excessive use of a technique involving near drowning in the first months after his capture, American intelligence officials said.

Another review, completed in April 2003 by American intelligence agencies shortly after Mr. Mohammed’s capture, assessed the quality of his information from initial questioning as “Precious Truths, Surrounded by a Bodyguard of Lies.”

So what has this actually done to the Padilla case?

Accusations about plots to set off a “dirty bomb” and use natural gas lines to bomb American apartment buildings had featured prominently in past administration statements about Mr. Padilla, an American who had been held in military custody for more than three years after his arrest in May 2002.

But they were not mentioned in his criminal indictment on lesser charges of support to terrorism that were made public on Tuesday. The decision not to charge him criminally in connection with the more far-ranging bomb plots was prompted by the conclusion that Mr. Mohammed and Mr. Zubaydah could almost certainly not be used as witnesses, because that could expose classified information and could open up charges from defense lawyers that their earlier statements were a result of torture, officials said.

Without that testimony, officials said, it would be nearly impossible for the United States to prove the charges. Moreover, part of the bombing accusations hinged on incriminating statements that officials say Mr. Padilla made after he was in military custody – and had been denied access to a lawyer.

“There’s no way you could use what he said in military custody against him,” a former senior government official said.

No way they could use it. Ugh.

Listen, if Padilla is guilty of these crimes, then I want him prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But do know that the Administration’s new policies regarding enemy combatants and torturing suspects, desperately weakens our ability to get guys like Padilla. That sucks because it ulitmately weakens our ability to fight terrorism.

I just don’t understand how the Administration can’t see this…