Along with boosting the defense budget to an all-time high and taking it upon himself—without approval of Congress—to increase the size of the army by 30,000 people, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has selected a good friend and sometime neighbor as a member of the Pentagon’s four-person Military Commission Review Panel. According to a Pentagon spokesman, this panel is intended to hear appeals of military tribunal cases of suspected terrorists or those who allegedly harbored them. The appeals can come from people incarcerated in any part of the world. The pal, a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, judge named Edward G. Biester Jr., is a former state attorney general and an ex-member of Congress.
A mutual friend, retired judge Leonard B. Sokolove, 78, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Biester is “very friendly” with Rumsfeld. According to land records in Taos, New Mexico, Biester has even bought some property from Secretary Strangelove, who owns lots all over that chic touristy area.
Besides Biester, the panel consists of Griffin B. Bell, Carter’s attorney general; William T. Coleman Jr., a former Philadelphia lawyer who was U.S. secretary of transportation during the Ford administration; and Frank Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
Additional reporting: Alicia Ng and Ashley Glacel