James B. Comey (shown in photo), the man reported to be President Obama's choice to succeed Robert Mueller as director of the FBI, vigorously supported the decision to imprison José Padilla indefinitely as an "enemy combatant." Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was arrested at O'Hare International Airport in May 2002 for what then-Attorney General John Ashcroft said was his participation in a plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a major city somewhere in the United States. He was held without charge and without trial in a solitary confinement at a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for three and one-half years before being tried in a civilian court in Miami on charges unrelated to the alleged "dirty bomb."
Padilla and two co-defendants were found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim overseas, and of conspiring to provide and of providing material support for terrorists. Padilla is currently serving a sentence of 17 years and four months in a federal prison in Florence, Colorado. His lawyers claimed he was unable to participate in his own defense at trial after years of solitary confinement in a nine-foot-by-seven-foot cell, where, they said, he was frequently chained in painful "stress positions" and injected with mind-altering drugs.
Comey, a Republican, was a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time of Padilla's arrest. He "aggressively defended" the designation of Padilla as an enemy combatant, according to the New York Times.
Comey also prosecuted attorney Lynne Stewart on charges arising from her representation of Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy and is now serving a life sentence. Stewart ran afoul of the special administrative measures governing public statements about a terror suspect, as well as communications between the suspect and his attorney. Stewart read at a press conference a statement of Rahman's that authorities interpreted as an encouragement to violent insurrection in Egypt. She was convicted in 2003 of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to provide, and providing, material support to terrorism. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo of James Comey: AP Images