Memorandum to the Attorney General, Determination of Enemy Belligerency and Military Detention   [open pdf - 1MB]

This Justice Department memorandum addresses the detention of Jose Padilla, an American citizen, by the United States military. "You have asked our opinion whether you should recommend to the Secretary of Defense that Jose Padilla, aka 'Abdullah Al Muhair,' qualifies as an enemy combatant under the laws of armed conflict, and whether he may be detained by the United States Armed Forces. Based on the facts provided to us by the Criminal Division, we conclude that the military has the legal authority to detain him as a prisoner captured during an international armed conflict. Additionally, we conclude that the Posse Comitatus Act, 18 USC § 1385 (1994), poses no bar to the military's operations in detaining Padilla The facts provided to us show that Padilla, who is a US citizen. is associated with al Qaeda, the terrorist organization that launched the attacks of September 11, 2001, and that he recently entered the United States as part of plot to commit acts of sabotage that might have resulted in massive loss of life We conclude that Padilla is properly considered an enemy combatant and may be turned over to military authorities for detention as an unlawful enemy combatant "

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