Saturday, November 29, 2003
Chaplain is Called Victim of Hysteria
by Charlie Savage
WASHINGTON -- Army Captain James "Yousef" Yee spent 76 days this autumn locked up in a Navy brig alongside so-called
"enemy combatants" who are suspected of aiding Al Qaeda and threatening national security.
Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at the Guantanamo Bay prison, spent most of that time in maximum-security lockup
in Jacksonville, Fla. ... Meanwhile, news reports repeatedly quoted unnamed officials as saying
he was suspected of spying for the other side in the war on terrorism.
Yet the actual charges turned out to be far less serious. In mid-October, he was formally accused of improperly handling
classified material -- by taking it home and transporting it without its proper container. On Monday, when he was released
from the brig, the government added charges of adultery, making a false statement, and downloading pornography on his government
Even as a military spokesman suggested that more charges could still be brought, some civil libertarians expressed concern
that the government's decision to hold Yee in maximum security, alongside enemy combatants, may have left him with no way
to clear himself of the taint of treason. And the long period of holding Yee may have led prosecutors to bring the adultery
and pornography charges as a way of justifying their decision to arrest him in the first place. ...
Laura Donohue, of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, said the military should not
be able to escape responsibility for leaked stories so easily.
"To what extent is the government forming public opinion by leaking information, by making anonymous comments to reporters,
and by taking certain steps that would lead reasonable people to conclude there were substantive concerns behind the anonymous
allegations?" she said. "Trying to escape responsibility by saying, `Oh, we didn't officially hold a press conference and
say this is our position about it' -- well, this is how it works."
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company