Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for three years as an enemy combatant suspected of plotting a “dirty bomb” attack in this country, has been indicted on charges that he conspired to “murder, kidnap and maim” people overseas.
A federal grand jury in Miami returned the indictment against Padilla and four others. While the charges allege Padilla was part of a U.S.- based terrorism conspiracy, they do not include the government’s earlier allegations that he planned to carry out attacks in America.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the indictment at a news conference in Washington moments ago.
Padilla, a Brooklyn-born Muslim convert, has been held as an “enemy combatant” in Defense Department custody for more than three years. The Bush administration had resisted calls to charge and try him in civilian courts.
The indictment avoids a Supreme Court showdown over how long the government could hold a U.S. citizen without charges. The high court had been asked to decide when and for how long the government can jail Americans in military prisons.
Adham Amin Hassoun, Mohammed Hesham Youssef, Kifah Wael Jayyousi, and Kassem Daher. Hassoun also was indicted on eight additional charges, including perjury, obstruction of justice and illegal firearm possession.
Hassoun, a Palestinian computer programmer who moved to Florida in was arrested in June 2002 for allegedly overstaying his student visa. Prosecutors previously described him as a former associate of Padilla.
Padilla has been held at a Navy brig in South Carolina. Following the indictment, which was handed up last Thursday, President Bush sent a memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordering Padilla transferred to the federal detention facility in Miami.
Andy McCarthy wonders: “HAS A TROUBLESOME ENEMY COMBATANT DETENTION BEEN MOOTED?”
I missed the press conference and would like to know more about the decision to indict. I thought this administration was supposed to be fighting the old Clinton/Kerry law enforcement approach to fighting terror.
Meanwhile, The Malcontent notices the disparity in how the Left treats indictments of alleged terrorists vs. indictments of Bush administration officials. Yup, no merry-making today.
Andy Cochran at the indispensable Counterterrorism Blog has a linked-filled post with the indictment and lots of background.
Update: Debbie Schussel has disturbing info on one of Padilla’s co-indictees.
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