From TPM Reader MF
Thiessen's explanation is preposterous even on its own terms. Per their respective Wiki entries, Reid was arrested on December 22, 2001, after trying to bring down AA flight 63. Padilla was arrested on May 8, 2002, and was (in Theissen's words) "taken out of the criminal-justice system, declared an illegal enemy combatant, and transferred to the Charleston brig for interrogation" on June 9, 2002. Reid remained in the civilian criminal sytem through his January 2003 guilty plea in a Boston federal court.
Following Thiessen's "logic," the US had clearly "figured out that we had other options than handing [terrorists] over to law enforcement" as of June 9, 2002, the day Padilla was sent to military prison. Why couldn't the government have likewise "taken [Reid] out of the criminal-justice system" during the seven months between June 2002 and Reid's guilty plea in January 2003?
It just makes no sense.