Just asking

If the Spanish cops hadn’t been there to catch the FBI’s mistake, would Brandon Mayfield now be in Guantanamo?

Assume Brandon Mayfield had been under investigation in connection with a terrorist attack in the United States, rather than the one in Spain, and that therefore no foreign police agency had been involved to challenge the FBI’s fingerprint squad.

Would he now be in Guantanamo, held without time limit as an “unlawful combatant,” deprived of access to counsel, and subjected to “aggressive” interrogation, and subject to trial by a military tribunal? If not, why not?

And will any of the people who have been pushing the idea that American Muslims (such as Mr. Brandon and Capt. Yee) constitute a potential fifth column for terrorists ever admit that their words have consequences?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com