Dafna Linzer on Secret Opinion in Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman Case

By Jack Goldsmith
Friday, October 8, 2010, 4:48 PM

Dafna Linzer has an amazing story about Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, an alleged al Qaeda member detained since 2001.  Judge Kennedy granted Uthman’s habeas petition in this opinion, filed in April of this year.  But Linzer reports that there was actually an earlier opinion that was filed on the court’s electronic docket a few weeks earlier and then almost immediately removed because it was cleared for release before classified information was removed.  Linzer then compares the original opinion with classified material (which she has a copy of) and the released opinion and finds and analyzes numerous material alterations.  As Ben noted yesterday, this case is now on appeal.  I am not familiar enough with the case to understand whether or how Linzer’s story might affect the appeal.  But the stakes of the appeal seem quite high, since, as Linzer reports, Uthman is on the Obama administration’s list of 48 detainees too dangerous to release but “not feasible for prosecution.”