Has the Government Left Minh Quang Pham “Languishing Forever”?

Screen shot 2013-02-13 at 3.55.43 PMJohn Brennan made two interesting comments about FBI interrogation at his hearing last week. First, in response to a Martin Heinrich question, he suggested that the Army Field Manual shouldn’t be the interrogation standard for the entire government because the FBI “has its own processes and procedures.”

HEINRICH: Thank you. Do you believe that all agencies of the United States government should be held to the interrogation standards that are laid out in the Army Field Manual as it — as currently required by Executive Order 13491? And do you support efforts to codify those requirements into law?

BRENNAN: The Army Field Manual certainly should govern the U.S. military’s detention and interrogation of individuals.

The FBI has its own processes and procedures and laws that govern its activities. So what I wanted to do is to make sure that, you know, appropriate sort of attention is paid to FBI as opposed to the military.

Then, when Brennan was very patiently explaining to Marco Rubio that his ideas about detention and interrogation are erroneous and stupid (my words), he said this about FBI interrogations.

BRENNAN: No. Again, it’s tailored to the circumstances. Sometimes an individual will be Mirandized. Sometimes they will not be Mirandized right away. Mirandizing an individual means only that the information that they give before then cannot be used in Article III court.

But, in fact, the FBI do a great job as far as eliciting information after they’re Mirandizing them, and so they can get information as part of that type of negotiation with them, let them know they can in fact languish forever, or we can in fact have a dialogue about it intelligently.

“They can languish forever”? I didn’t think the Sixth Amendment had a “languish forever” exception.

But Brennan’s apparent belief there is one got me thinking about Minh Quang Pham, whom I wrote about here.

Pham is a Vietnamese immigrant to the UK who traveled to Yemen in December 2010 and went on to help Samir Khan produce Inspire magazine. He was arrested to great fanfare last June, when his May 24 indictment was purportedly unsealed. Though his docket shows no sign of that unsealing; rather, it says the indictment was unsealed two months later. He returned to the UK in December 2011, where he was held in immigration detention. It’s unclear whether he’s still there — the Brits can hold someone in detention indefinitely and extradition to the US has been taking a lot of time of late — or whether he was moved here either in June when DOJ had a big dog and pony show over his arrest or in August when the docket says his previously unsealed indictment was unsealed. That’s the last thing that appears in Pham’s docket. I’ve asked SDNY for a status report but have not yet gotten an answer.

In any case, one of the last people with ties to the UK or US to spend time with Anwar al-Awlaki and, especially, Samir Khan is languishing … somewhere.

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7 Responses to Has the Government Left Minh Quang Pham “Languishing Forever”?

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emptywheel @DemFromCT Which is not my preferred outcome, but almost certainly what will happen.
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emptywheel @DemFromCT I think some combo of King, Ernst, McCain, and Kirk will provide votes to put USAF over next Sunday.
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emptywheel RT @joanneleon: Here's a clip I created of last night's Senate showdown on short term reauth PATRIOT Act bulk surveillance http://t.co/gnE9
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emptywheel LOL. Ron Johnson voted for USAF last night. Both 2016 WI General and MD primary affecting surveillance votes already.
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emptywheel @DemFromCT All the spooks (except the ones who read me religiously, as they have admitted) tell me I'm not one!
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emptywheel @DemFromCT Also, I'm not transcribing. It probably helps to assess things from far away bc no one even tries to dictate to me.
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emptywheel @NadiaKayyali @TyreJim & yet neither of your drunk or sober CSPAN watchers has created a clip of McConnell's humiliating defeat last night?
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emptywheel If I can predict what is going to happen a full month before it does those in DC might be able to report what happened after it did, right?
43mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel This prediction of McConnell's plan--down to imposing data "retention" for iMessage--proved correct. https://t.co/N5zxWvmnoO
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bmaz @Popehat @jadler1969 Clearly. I would think both party consent would be the norm though.
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emptywheel @billyez2 Think even Ernst said something that indicated she might consider flipping. They prolly can get to 60 pretty easily.
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emptywheel @billyez2 I'll hold you to that! Also, expect King would flip, since he voted USAF in November.
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