The idea that Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Diaz will do six months in the brig for committing the brave and even noble deed of leaking the names of all Guantanamo detainees to human rights lawyers is profoundly distressing:
A military jury recommended Friday that a Navy lawyer be discharged and imprisoned for six months for sending a human rights attorney the names of 550 Guantanamo Bay detainees.
…Diaz was convicted Thursday of communicating secret information about Guantanamo Bay detainees that could be used to injure the United States and three other charges of leaking information to an unauthorized person.
…After the first day of his trial Monday, Diaz had told The Dallas Morning News he felt sending the list — which was inside an unmarked Valentine’s Day card — was the right decision because of how the detainees were being treated.
…In early 2005, as he was concluding a six-month tour of duty as a legal adviser at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Diaz sent an anonymous note to a New York civil liberties group containing the detainees’ names.
…”I had observed the stonewalling, the obstacles we continued to place in the way of the attorneys,” Diaz told the newspaper. ”I knew my time was limited. … I had to do something.”
I regret that Diaz, facing the full brunt of military justice bearing down on him seems to have decided that folding his tail between his legs and begging for mercy was advisable under the circumstances. And who really can blame him?
Diaz, who could have received up to 14 years in prison, gave emotional testimony during the sentencing hearing, apologizing for his actions.
”The prosecutors were right: I’m a meticulous man. I should have done better. It was extremely irrational for me to do what I did,” Diaz said.
…Diaz said he now believes it was ”cowardly” to release the names and other identifying information in that manner.
Read the Morning News story. It’s devastating and includes this jaw-dropping quotation from Diaz (remember he served 18 years as a Navy lawyer):
I think a good case could be made for allegations of war crimes, policies that were war crimes,” he said.
Matthew Diaz is an American hero. He should not spend a day in jail. Patrick Leahy should call him to testify before the Judiciary Committee so he can tell the nation why his conscience impelled him to do what he did. And if his lawyers or family read this, please tell us more about him, his case, and what else we can do to support him.