Justice Department: American ISIS Suspect Requested Attorney

An unnamed U.S. citizen held for the past three months as an enemy combatant in Iraq was informed of his right to counsel, but was told that “due to his current situation, it was unknown when he would be able to have an attorney,” the Justice Department stated.

According to The Hill, John Doe, captured in September while apparently fighting with ISIS, has not been interrogated for law enforcement purposes since he was read his Miranda rights, according to a filing in federal court, but it is unclear if he’s been questioned further by the military.

The Department of Justice did not disclose when Doe was questioned by the FBI, and it’s unclear how long he was detained before he was informed of his rights. During the questioning, Doe said that he understood his rights and was willing to talk to the FBI but “since he was in a new phase, he felt he should have an attorney present,” according to the filing.

“The agents explained that due to his current situation, it was unknown when he would be able to have an attorney, and the individual stated that it was ok and that he is a patient man,” DOJ noted.

However, Doe “later made clear in connection with his subsequent request to speak with an interrogator that the individual did not wish to speak with agents of the FBI,” the government reports.

The forced DOJ disclosure came by the order of U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who on Thursday morning demanded that the government provide her the information so she can weigh a legal bid by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to represent Doe, The Hill adds.

The Justice Department tried to convince Chutkan that the court had no jurisdiction over Doe’s case because, it says, the ACLU has no standing to represent Doe given that they do not know who he is and do not have a relationship with him.

The case has the potential to reshape an already unsettled part of U.S. law that has vexed every administration since 9/11: How to handle U.S. citizens captured fighting for foreign terrorist groups, The Hill writes.

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