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Get Well Soon, Michael Mukasey [Updated]

November 21, 2008

Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed yesterday during a speech. Fortunately he seems to be sort of OK now.

While he’s recovering read his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He calls for Congress as well as the current and the incoming administration to get together and work out a framework within which the Gitmo habeas corpus cases can function in a way that is in accordance with Boumediene v. Bush but doesn’t undermine national security interests. He names three conditions:

First, Congress must make clear that release from the Guantanamo Bay military base does not mean that a detainee is entitled to enter the United States. Where a court finds that a detainee cannot be held as an enemy combatant, he should be returned to his home country or another country willing to receive him. He should not be permitted to jump the immigration line and enter this country.

Second, habeas corpus proceedings must protect the integrity of classified information and prevent disclosing that information to our enemies. Simply put, Congress should devise rules that allow the government to present the most highly classified information to the courts for their sole review.

We should not be forced to choose between continuing to hold a dangerous detainee and jeopardizing the intelligence sources and methods that Americans have risked their lives to obtain, and which our enemies may then render useless.

Third, Congress should establish sensible and uniform procedures that will eliminate the risk of duplicative efforts and inconsistent rulings, and strike a reasonable balance between the detainees’ right to a hearing and our national security needs. Such practical rules must assure that court proceedings do not interfere with the mission of our armed forces.

Federal courts have never before treated habeas corpus as requiring full-dress trials, even in ordinary criminal cases. It would be unwise to do so here, given the grave national security concerns at issue.

Do read the whole thing.

Update: The transcript of the speech Mukasey gave yesterday – well, wanted to give – is here.

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