Friday, August 09, 2002

Brad DeLong is disturbed that the FBI was caught inducing a false confession.

The case concerns an aviation radio which was found near the scene of the Sept. 11th attacks. A hotel guard claimed, falsely, that it belonged to an an Egyptian student, Abdullah Higazy. The student found himself accused of perjury when he claimed, correctly, to have nothing to do with the radio. He then requested a polygraph test to verify his claims. An FBI agent stopped the test, and with Higazy's lawyer not present, browbeat him into a confession --- revealed as false a month later, when the guard admitted making the whole thing up.

Fortunately, the Bush administration is working hard to make sure that he will no longer be troubled by these sorts of reports. They are trying to insert provisions into the law governing the new Homeland Security department which exempt it from FOIA and sunshine laws, deny whistleblower protection to its employees, and make them subject to arbitrary dismissal for any reason, including troubling the public with matters that need not concern it.

And to make sure that the investigation of accused terrorists such as the unfortunate Mr. Higazy are handled with all due discretion, they are also working hard to keep unreliable people like Federal judges from even looking at the evidence supporting accusations that someone is an "enemy combatant". The guy in this case is an American citizen who is being held without charges being filed, and with no access to legal representation. As is proper --- nobody trusts a lawyer, and though the fact is little known, most judges are also lawyers. Obviously, we can't trust them either --- certainly not with confidential information.

That's your government folks --- worrying about all sorts of wild, dangerous things so you don't have to.


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