Robert Barnes, a Washington Post staff writer, is reporting on WasingtonPost.com that a government lawyer argued before the Supreme Court that former attorney general John D. Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III should not be subjected to prosecution from Arabs who were detained in the United States after the 9/11 attacks.
The article, “Court Weighs Post-9/11 Liability,” goes on to say that there was a spirited debate as to whether public officials should be held accountable when they are doing their duty in exceptional circumstances.
The problem arose when Arab Muslims were singled out they say for their beliefs. They say they were detained and beaten.
The specific case that brought this issue to the fore was that of Javaid Iqbal who was a Pakistani television cable installer who was arrested during the time after the attacks and held in the Brooklyn prison known as Admax-Shu. He said he was exposed to numerous strip searches as well as beatings.
He has been deported although it was not because of terrorism rather document fraud. Another Egyptian however settled with our government for $300,000.
Iqbal’s case names prison guards, FBI agents, the warden of the prison and on up the ladder.
Rarely does the highest level know about what is going on in a situation like this and in additional to that, attorneys often suggest that you name everybody near a situation in the event any given person is found guilty.
It was the feeling of Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that holding someone until they were cleared might raise eyebrows and may not be the soundest method.
The U.S. Court of Appeals of the 2nd Circuit in New York had already said that while it agreed top-level officials carried immunity there was a possibility they were involved and they felt they should leave the future actions against them open to debate.
John D. Ashcroft was originally the Governor from Missouri and Democratic Senator from Missouri.
Robert S. Mueller III was originally in a law partnership that was dedicated to battling white collar crime.
I do not want anyone beaten for any reason no matter what nationality. Further, I don’t believe that someone should be imprisoned and the key thrown away. However, when a person like Iqbal commits any crime, especially in another country, I think they have to live with the consequences if they happen to pick the wrong time.
This idea of “cosmic justice” will prove impossible when crimes occur during major events like 9/11.