Has a Troublesome Enemy Combatant Detention Been Mooted?

by Andrew C. McCarthy

Jose Padilla, the American citizen alleged to be an al Qaeda terrorist and would-be “dirty bomber,” and thus held by the military as an enemy combatant in the war on terror for three years, has been indicted. The Washington Post reports that he will apparently be transferred back to the criminal justice system and prosecuted federally in Miami for conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim persons overseas, and to provide material support to terrorists.

Although the charges do not appear to include the domestic bombing plot which has been the basis for Padilla’s detention, the charges may obviate the need for the Supreme Court to consider his case. Back in September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the Bush administration was authorized to hold him without trial as an enemy combatant. Padilla had appealed to the Supreme Court.

AG Alberto Gonzales will hold a press conference on this later today.