My theory is that they never had shit for evidence on the ridiculous dirty bomb threat and were holding him rather than admit they fucked up, but here’s an alternative.
The Bush administration decided to charge Jose Padilla with crimes unrelated to alleged plots to explode a “dirty bomb” and destroy apartment buildings because it was unwilling to allow testimony from two senior members of al Qaeda who had been subjected to harsh questioning, current and former government officials said Wednesday.
The al Qaeda members were the main sources linking Padilla to a plot to bomb targets in the United States, the officials said.
The al Qaeda members were Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and Abu Zubaydah, a top recruiter, who gave their accounts to American questioners in 2002 and 2003. The two continue to be held in secret prisons by the CIA, whose internal reviews have raised questions about their treatment and credibility, the officials said.
One review, completed in the spring of 2004 by the CIA inspector-general, found that Mohammed had been subjected to excessive use of a technique involving near-drowning in the first months after his capture, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
More information therein on deportations to Pakistan for torture that backfire, them insisting they never had to charge him with anything, and related dipshit moves.
Edit: broader overview.
Edit: even more.