RealNews

Feds explain reason why Padilla can't see lawyer

The U.S. government has delayed granting Jose Padilla access to a lawyer until it decides that holding the former Chicago gang member as an “enemy combatant” in the war on terrorism no longer serves a valuable intelligence purpose, top Justice Department officials said Tuesday. The department’s stance, revealed in a background briefing for reporters by four high-ranking Justice officials, marks a softening of a position the Bush administration took beginning in June 2002, when Padilla was arrested in Chicago. Officials said initially that Padilla, a U.S. citizen suspected of meeting with al-Qaeda operatives to discuss detonating a radioactive “dirty bomb” in the USA, had no right to a lawyer. “I don’t think anybody in this process has ever been focused on denial of access to counsel (to detainees),” said one of the Justice officials, who asked not to be identified. “The objective in intelligence collection is prevention of further terrorist attacks and protecting national security.” To accomplish that, the official said, “there may be a delay in access to counsel.” Full Story

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