The Facts Don't Matter

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In 1942, George Dasch led a team of eight Nazi saboteurs who landed on the beach on Long Island with plans to blow up factories up and down the Eastern seaboard. They were arrested by the FBI, and found guilty of war crimes in a military tribunal. The FBI claimed to have broken the spy ring and foiled the plot on its own. In fact, the FBI only became aware of it when Dasch went to FBI headquarters and turned himself and the others in. And though all the men were found guilty, one of them might not have been a spy at all, just an unlucky kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. How this case became a Supreme Court precedent, Ex Parte Quirin, used to justify current administration policies on detaining enemy combatants, despite the problems in the original case.

Photo: Tom Taylor

Credits

Host:
Ira Glass