MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Amid tight security, alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla is personally viewing U.S. government secrets in advance of his trial...Does anyone else find it at least a little silly that Padilla's own statements are considered 'government secrets,' deserving of classified status?
Under a federal judge's order, Padilla is being allowed to examine classified documents and videotapes detailing his statements during 3-1/2 years in Defense Department custody as an unlawful "enemy combatant."
That kind of special treatment sums up the entire problem I've had with Padilla's case from the beginning. There is no such designation in the Constitution as an "enemy combatant" that allows the government to lock citizens away in secret locations, even if they're really bad people. Rather the 6th Amendment says, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial..." How many criminal prosecutions? All of them. To hold Padilla for 4 years under some gossamer legal fabrication in direct violation of the Constitution is itself criminal, and if Bush is to be impeached, there's as fine a reason as any.
With Conservatives screaming so loudly about the NYT among others revealing government 'secrets,' they ought to think long and hard about why 13 states refused to ratify the Constitution without a few modifications: the necessary purpose of the Constitution's guarantees of a speedy and public trial is to keep the government from keeping the kinds of secrets it loves so dearly.