CIA: Couldn't Prevent 9/11, But Great With Spirit Gum
After years in a Navy brig, Jose Padilla is now being tried and given a chance to confront his accusers. For certain limited definitions of "confront."
The C.I.A. wants an agent to testify in disguise and use a fake name at a terrorism trial to protect his identity and secret agency sites in Afghanistan, papers filed on Thursday said.
The agent would wear "a wig, eyeglasses or minor facial hair" but would not block others in the courtroom from measuring his "demeanor and credibility," prosecutors said in the filing.
So many important legal questions here. For instance: what constitutes "minor" facial hair? Mustache? Sideburns? A "soul patch," aka a "flavor saver"? Will the defense team be able to narrow the scope of fake facial hair choices the agent will use? And how about the glasses -- will they be the special kind that Superman wears when he's in disguise as Clark Kent that magically render him unrecognizable? And what if the jury is composed of people like my grandmother, who always thought that everyone with facial hair was automatically bad? Would the nice old ladies on the jury reject the "demeanor and credibility" of the CIA agent and look kindly upon the clean-shaven Padilla, and the prosecuting attorney would realize this and so at the climax of the trial the agent would rip off his disguise and say, "But look, ladies of the jury, I was actually wearing a false beard!" and then Padilla would be convicted and America would be saved but the CIA agent would be blown up by terrorists the minute he walks out of the courthouse?
These are the dilemmas of trying to run a free society in the midst of the War on Terror. We're glad that better minds than ours are dedicated to them.
C.I.A. Seeks Disguise for Agent at Trial [AP via NYT]