I have heard a lot about Jose Padilla in the last few months, including that he was mercilessly tortured, that he is an American citizen being held without being charged, that George W. Bush has been instrumental in his capture and torture, and that he has done nothing wrong. So I decided to do a little research.
Jose Padilla's real name, after he became a convert to Islam following one of his many stays in prison, is now Abdullah al-Muhajir. Since taking a a vow of non-violence in prison, Padilla/al-Muhajir has committed or been trained to commit several acts of violence. He also left his American wife and children to become more engaged in radical Islam in Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
On one of his visits to Afghanistan, he became a member of the al Farouq terrorist training camp, which is affiliated with al Qaeda. When he returned to the US in 2002, the FBI was waiting for him. Following an interview, he was arrested and held as an enemy combatant due to his having worked with al Qaeda.
One of the plots that he had not yet been able to carry out before being arrested was to acquire apartments on lower floors of high-rise apartment buildings--apartments serviced by highly explosive natural gas. The intent was to leave a flame source inside the apartment, sealing it off substantially, and allow the gas to build up. Eventually the gas would explode, possibly killing hundreds of high-rise tenants. The intent was to acquire apartments in as many as 20 buildings.
As a young Puerto Rican thug in Chicago, Padilla had a rap sheet a mile long. After changing his name to a more peaceful one, his encounters with law enforcement officials continued unabated.
He was long involved with the Masjid al Imam mosque in Florida, which has been a front for the Benevolence International Foundation, a terrorist fund-raising instrument whose aims have been less that benevolent. Evidence was discovered in Bosnia that BIF was funneling money to al Qaeda.