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NYT- Justice Dept. Must Clarify Role in Inquiry

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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 05:02 AM
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NYT- Justice Dept. Must Clarify Role in Inquiry

Published: May 15, 2004

WASHINGTON, May 14 A federal appeals court has demanded that Justice Department prosecutors explain their "arguably inconsistent" statements about their involvement in the interrogation of captured terrorists of Al Qaeda who might provide valuable information to lawyers defending Zacarias Moussaoui, according to a court order made public Friday.

In the bluntly worded order, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., said disclosures this week by the department suggested that it might now be possible for Mr. Moussaoui's lawyers to submit written questions directly to the Qaeda detainees.

The issue is important in the prosecution of Mr. Moussaoui, the only person charged in a United States court with conspiring in the Sept. 11 attacks, because the Bush administration is refusing to make the captured terrorists available to testify on Mr. Moussaoui's behalf. Court records show that the prisoners have provided information in interrogations that suggests that Mr. Moussaoui had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks.

Prosecutors have argued in the past that they, like Mr. Moussaoui's defense lawyers, have no ability to question the detainees, who are reported to be under intensive interrogation overseas by the C.I.A. They also say it would be impossible to submit written questions to the detainees about their knowledge of Mr. Moussaoui and his purported ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers.

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