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Austin Cline

Prosecutor Suing Ashcoft over Terrorism

By April 12, 2004

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The Bush administration is relying heavily on their handling of the "war on terrorism" in the upcoming election campaign. They hope that the American public will approve of how they are dealing with actual and potential terrorists - but a recent lawsuit indicates that the administration is willing to undermine the fight against terrorism if it means retaliating against someone who questions their methods.

John Solomon writes:

Convertino came under internal investigation last fall after providing information to a Senate committee about his concerns about the war on terror. His testimony came just months after he helped convict some members of an alleged terrorism cell in Detroit. The government now admits it failed to turn over evidence during the trial that might have assisted the defense, including an allegation from an imprisoned drug gang leader who claimed the government's key witness made up his story.
Convertino is seeking damages under the First Amendment and Privacy Act, alleging he has been subjected to an internal investigation as retaliation for his cooperation with the Senate and that information from the internal probe was wrongly leaked to news media. ... Convertino also accused Justice officials of intentionally divulging the name of one of his confidential terrorism informants (CI) to retaliate against him.

Surely the Bush administration would never allow the name of anyone who works undercover to be made public and thus compromise intelligence operations! It's horrible, though, that the prosecutors didn't turn over evidence that would have helped the defense - that's the sort of behavior of a police state, of a government that cannot be trusted with the awesome power entrusted to it by the people.

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