Some Justice Department employees have been advised to hire attorneys in anticipation of lawsuits by people who were detained in the wake of 9/11, Time magazine says. The department’s Inspector General is expected to release a report today critical of the government’s roundup of nearly 800 individuals on immigration charges after the terrorist attacks. The report is likely to criticize officials for holding detainees for lengthy periods even when it was increasingly clear they had nothing to do with terrorism, and for blocking many detainees from normal immigration hearing procedures, Time says. Another portion of the document will say that some detainees were not able to get access to lawyers.
The Inspector General’s office said last July that the report should be ready by October 2002. Sources say that there were discussions within the administration about the feasibility of delaying its release. Among those are most likely to be named in lawsuits are Justice Department Criminal Division head Michael Chertoff, former Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh and former Immigration and Naturalization Service head James Ziglar. Plaintiffs have been waiting for the new report, believing that it could provide them with more ammunition.