Apparently, taking issue with the Obama Administration's threee-stoogesesque counterterrorism effort is now tantamount to supporting al Qaeda. Yes, yes, it's true. That according to John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism advisor, who tells us in the USA Today that "[p]olitically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda." Given that the Christmas Day attempted bombing failed to kill hundreds of Americans solely because of jihadi incompetence and that every intelligence chief expects with certainty another al Qaeda effort at a mass casulaty attack in the U.S. in the next six months, it would seem Mr. Brennan has a rather unique definition of "fear mongering." Apparently anything other than blind, unquestioning faith in the Dear Leader's ability to keep us safe based on counterintuitive policies is now "fear mongering."
Be that as it may, the Obama administration is in a full court press to make it seem that the administration acted responsibly when it gave Miranda rights and a lawyer to the Christmas Day Undiebomber, Adbulmutallab, within hours of his arrest, after less than two hours of interrogation, and without notifying or receiving input from the heads of our nation's intelligence and counterterrorism entities. It truly is trying to make chicken salad from the vilest of chicken excreta.
Over the weekend, Brennan appeared on Meet The Press, claiming that the fact Republicans were briefly notified that Abdulmutallab was in custody of the FBI and talking, that these same people should have immediately understood that Abdulmutallab would soon mirandized and given a lawyer. That is a real leap in logic.
One would expect that a terrorist captured in the U.S. to be taken into custody by the FBI. But we are a nation at war as the result of Congressional authorization. We can lawfully hold Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant, and thus the decision to mirandize Abdulmutallab was certainly not required. The mere fact that FBI standard operating procedures require Miranda Warnings when capturing a common criminal does abosolutely nothing to negate those facts. Mirandizing Abdulmutallab was a choice, and to claim it an inexorable logical step to be divined from the mere fact that he was taken into FBI custody is facetious.
But that is hardly the only disingenouos statement made by John Brennan of late. His op-ed in the USA Today is a string of them.
Immediately after the failed Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated . . .
One, possibly two sessions of interrogation lasting a grand total of under two hours and conducted by local FBI agents without speicalized background in the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda constituties "thoroughly interrogated?" How dumb does this joker think we are?
Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't every one of the heads of our intelligence and counterintelligence agencies testify before Congress that they were never consulted about Abdulmutallab prior to his being mirandized. And didn't AG Eric Holder, a man who has only an ancillary role in counterintelligence, state that the decision to mirandize Abdulmutallab was his and his alone? It would seem that Mr. Brennan is making things up as he goes along.
The most important breakthrough occurred after Abdulmutallab was read his rights, a long-standing FBI policy that was reaffirmed under Michael Mukasey, President Bush's attorney general. The critics who want the FBI to ignore this long-established practice also ignore the lessons we have learned in waging this war: Terrorists such as Jose Padilla and Saleh al-Mari did not cooperate when transferred to military custody, which can harden one's determination to resist cooperation.
This is utterly ridiculous. It is only through treating terrorists as common criminals that we can hope to gain intelligence? Did Padilla and al-Mari, who were both taken into FBI custody initially, cooperate while in FBI custody? What about KSM, whose first request upon being taken into custody was for his lawyer? What about the five weeks lost in gathering intel when Abdulmutallab was given a lawyer?
It's naive to think that transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody would have caused an outpouring of information. There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical.
Let's see, under the military, Abdulmutallab would have had no right not to answer questions, nor a right to have a lawyer present during questioning. We would be under no compulsion to forgo interrogation when Abdulmutallab decided he didn't want to talk any more. And indeed, his sole recourse to a lawyer would have been to challenge his status as an enemy combatant . . . somehow I find those factors to be pretty substantive. And as to the interrogation rules, that is kind of like the story of the boy that killed his parents then asked for leniency from the Court because he was now an orphan. We have known for eight years that the interrogation tactics used by the police - and in 2002 mirrored by the military - were insufficient to induce most terrorists to talk. That is why the CIA developed enhanced interrorgation techniques - the same one's that Obama took from our inventory with a stroke of the pen a year ago. For Brennan now to use that as a reason to treat Abdulmutallab as a common criminal is mind numbing.
Cries to try terrorists only in military courts lack foundation. There have been three convictions of terrorists in the military tribunal system since 9/11, and hundreds in the criminal justice system — including high-profile terrorists such as Reid and 9/11 plotter Zacarius Moussaoui.
This paragraph from Brennan is significantly disingengous and deceptive in equal measure. There have been three convictions in the military tribunal system because of, one, court challenges during the Bush administration, and once those were finally concluded, the fact that Obama stopped all tribunal proceedings. Further, we are under no compulsion to prosecute anyone. Under the law of war, we can hold all captured enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities. Lastly, this claim to "hundreds" of convictions in the "criminal justice system," that is mystifying. As Byron York points out, the administration keeps making this claim, but they have yet to back it up with any facts.
This administration's efforts have disrupted dozens of terrorist plots against the homeland and been responsible for killing and capturing hundreds of hard-core terrorists, including senior leaders in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond — far more than in 2008.
Much of this statement is simply unverifiable. To the extent it is based on an increased tempo of drone attacks - that is merely the continuation a Bush policy from 2008. As to captured individuals, considering we do not even have a High Value Interrogtion Team yet constituted, I'd really like to see the facts underlying that claim and just what we are doing with them.
Brennan concludes this piece of fiction with the statement, "We need no lectures about the fact that this nation is at war." There is no question in my mind that, unless there is intercession by a higher power, we will see Americans killed by terrorist acts over the next three years. And when the next mass casualty event comes, particularly if it is out of Yemen, I expect that the entire population of the U.S. will be providing the lectures to this administration.