Could This Happen Again?
The New York Times is reporting today that newly declassified documents show that in 1950, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wanted to put 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty in military prisons and suspend their right to habeas corpus.
Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.”…After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush issued an order that effectively allowed the United States to hold suspects indefinitely without a hearing, a lawyer, or formal charges. In September 2006, Congress passed a law suspending habeas corpus for anyone deemed an “unlawful enemy combatant.” But the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the right of American citizens to seek a writ of habeas corpus. This month the court heard arguments on whether about 300 foreigners held at Guantánamo Bay had the same rights. It is expected to rule by next summer. In September 1950, Congress passed and the president signed a law authorizing the detention of “dangerous radicals” if the president declared a national emergency. Truman did declare such an emergency in December 1950, after China entered the Korean War. But no known evidence suggests he or any other president approved any part of Hoover’s proposal.
Of course, Truman had the good sense not to act on this. Today, we have a president who has declared enemy combatants, including US citizens Jose Padilla and and Yaser Hamdi. After a 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision allowing the government to detain Padilla indefinitely, that court refused to allow BushCo to turn him over to a civilian court, while still allowing them to detain him.
Makes one long for the days of Hoover.Click here for reuse options!
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