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Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on the
Padilla Decision:

“The Department of Justice is pleased that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has reaffirmed the President's critical authority to detain enemy combatants who take up arms on behalf of al Qaeda and travel to the United States to kill innocent Americans. As the court noted today, the authority to detain enemy combatants like Jose Padilla plays an important role in protecting American citizens from the very kind of savage attack that took place almost four years ago to the day.”

Additional background information:

Padilla Was Closely Associated with Al Qaeda and Trained and Worked Under Their Direction:

After his release from prison in the United States in the early 1990's, Padilla traveled to Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, taking the name Abdullah Al Muhajir.

Padilla met with senior al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, on several occasions while in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001 and 2002.

At the direction of al Qaeda, Padilla received training from al Qaeda operatives, including how to wire explosive devices. Padilla also conducted research on construction of a uranium-enhanced explosive device at al Qaeda’s safehouse in Lahore, Pakistan.

Padilla discussed with senior al Qaeda operatives his involvement and participation in terrorist operations targeting the United States, including a plan to detonate a “radiological dispersal device” (or “dirty bomb”) within the United States as well as other operations involving the detonation of explosive devices in hotel rooms and gas stations.

Padilla was directed by al Qaeda members to return to the United States to explore and advance the conduct of further attacks against the United States on al Qaeda’s behalf.

Multiple Intelligence Sources Separately Confirmed Padilla’s Involvement in Planning Future Terrorist Attacks Against the United States with Al Qaeda Leaders. As the Supreme Court said in the unanimous Quirin decision, sustaining the constitutionality of military detention without regard to the combatants’ citizenship: “[c]itizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts are enemy belligerents within the meaning of the Hague Convention and the law of war.”

The Detainment of Padilla by Authorities May Have Prevented the Escalation of His Plan for Further Terrorist Attacks. Padilla, a.k.a. Abdullah al Muhajir, was arrested on May 8, 2002 when he flew from Pakistan to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. That arrest disrupted the exploration of potential terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

The President Determined that Padilla Poses a Threat to Americans. On Sunday, June 9, 2002, President Bush, acting as Commander in Chief, determined that Padilla is an enemy combatant who poses a serious and continuing threat to the American people and our national security. He was subsequently transferred from the custody of the Justice Department to the control of the Defense Department.

The Court of Appeals Today Held That: