AG (202) 514-2007 TDD (202) 514-1888

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: The President possesses the authority to “detain militarily a citizen of this country who is closely associated with al Qaeda, an entity with which the United States is at war, who took up arms on behalf of the enemy and against our country in a foreign combat zone of that war, and who thereafter traveled to the United States for the avowed purpose of further prosecuting that war on American soil, against American citizens and targets.” “Padilla unquestionably qualifies as an ‘enemy combatant’ as that term was defined for purposes of the [Supreme Court's] controlling opinion in Hamdi.” “Because, like Hamdi, Padilla is an enemy combatant, and because his detention is no less necessary than was Hamdi's in order to prevent his return to the battlefield, the President is authorized by the AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force Joint Resolution] to detain Padilla as a fundamental incident to the conduct of war.” “Because the United States remains engaged in the conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Padilla's detention has not exceeded in duration that authorized by the AUMF.” The Supreme Court's reasoning in Hamdi “simply does not admit of a distinction between an enemy combatant captured abroad and detained in the United States, such as Hamdi, and an enemy combatant who escaped capture abroad but was ultimately captured domestically and detained in the United

States, such as Padilla.” “We are convinced, in any event, that the availability of criminal process cannot be determinative of the power to detain, if for no other reason than that criminal prosecution may well not achieve the very purpose for which detention is authorized in the first place-the prevention of return to the field of battle.” ### 05-467