December 11, 2003

Guantanamo Again

Reason's Jacob Sullum writes about the Captain Yee spy... no, mishandling of classified documents... no, adultery case:

Hit & Run: Spy, Adulterer, Whatever: The case against Capt. James J. Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, seems to be dissolving before the government's eyes. Originally accused of espionage, he was held in the brig for 76 days, after which he was charged only with mishandling classified material, plus some minor offenses having nothing to do with security, including adultery and keeping pornography on his government computer. Now it turns out the classified material he supposedly mishandled may not have been classified after all. The prosecution has asked for a postponement in Yee's pre-trial hearing so it can determine the nature of the documents found in his luggage. One of his defense lawyers, Maj. Scott Sikes, told The New York Times

he hoped the military would decide to drop the case. He said he believed that the military was pressing ahead as part of an unwise effort to save face over its initial miscalculation.

The case, he noted, "started out with allegations of being a spy."

"There has since been a steady decline in the seriousness of the allegations," Major Sikes said.

Major Sikes, a former military prosecutor, said, "This is the most incredible military proceeding this military counsel has ever seen."

Not only is Yee not a spy, apparently, but his only crimes may be petty stuff incidentally dredged up by the government's investigation. The case illustrates once again the importance of an open, adversarial process, especially when the public is inclined to join the government in its rush to judgment.

Posted by Jacob Sullum at December 11, 2003 03:34 PM

Posted by DeLong at December 11, 2003 02:03 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Whitewater started out being about a land deal. WHen that amounted to nothing, it was about a S&L scandal. When the Clintons were discovered to be unconnected to that, it mutated into the Paula Jones stuff. When that amounted to nothing, it became about two consenting adults engaging in oral sex.

There's no honor there. No honesty. Nothing but arrogance. Yee will eventually be pilloried for something unrelated to anything he was originally accused of. Even if they can't prove a case.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan on December 11, 2003 04:49 PM

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When do we get to the war crimes trials over all those Afghan kids left to die locked in containers?

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on December 11, 2003 05:13 PM

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On Guantanamo in general, you may find this recent speech by Lord Steyn, one of our Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, of interest, if you aren't already aware of it: http://www.biicl.org/admin/files/F%20A%20MANN.doc

Posted by: Marcus on December 12, 2003 04:35 AM

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I suppose the nicest thing about the case is that it hit a sweet spot beneath the big-network radar but still comfortably within the public view.

Contrast Wen Ho Lee. I had considered that were there to be another Wen Ho Lee things would be a lot worse for him (or her). But this case never caught the attention of ideologues and Yee was never a major political issue.

Lee was an instance in which Clinton performed badly. Under Bush the Yee case is being allowed to disintigrate (as it should have for Lee).

Posted by: Saam Barrager on December 12, 2003 10:47 AM

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I suppose the nicest thing about the case is that it hit a sweet spot beneath the big-network radar but still comfortably within the public view.

Contrast Wen Ho Lee. I had considered that were there to be another Wen Ho Lee things would be a lot worse for him (or her). But this case never caught the attention of ideologues and Yee was never a major political issue.

Lee was an instance in which Clinton performed badly. Under Bush the Yee case is being allowed to disintigrate (as it should have for Lee).

Posted by: Saam Barrager on December 12, 2003 10:52 AM

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