Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FBI agents decided to treat Abdulmutallab as common criminal?

Today top Obama administration officials gave their first public accounting to lawmakers about operational and intelligence lapses leading up to the failed attempt on Christmas day to bring down a Northwest Airlines jet.  Byron York at the Washington Examiner is shocked to learn that FBI Director Robert Mueller was not consulted about the legal status of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab:
FBI Director Robert Mueller appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee today and revealed that he was not consulted on the question of whether to handle accused Detroit airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a defendant in the civilian justice system or as an enemy combatant. Abdulmutallab, who was trained by al Qaeda -- with whom President Obama says the United States is at war -- was charged as a civilian and given Miranda rights and a taxpayer-supplied lawyer. At a Judiciary Committee hearing today, ranking Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Mueller, "Who made the decision that Abdulmutallab was going to be treated as a criminal rather than an enemy belligerent?" The answer: the agents on the scene, with no input from the FBI director.
The Associated Press reports that the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Homeland Security were not consulted either:
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that he was not consulted on whether Abdulmutallab should be questioned by the recently created High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, and charged in federal court.

"That unit was created exactly for this purpose," Blair said. "We did not invoke the HIG in this case. We should have."

The interrogation group cited by Blair was created by the Obama administration last year to handle high-value terror suspects, but it was envisioned for use with suspects caught overseas, not in the U.S. The group, to be led by FBI interrogators and including experts from a range of agencies, is still being assembled and has not been deployed yet.

Blair said the decision to file criminal charges against the suspect in federal court was made "on the scene."

"Seemed logical to the people there, but it should have been taken using this HIG format at a higher level," Blair said.

Under questioning by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Blair and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said they were not consulted before the decision was made to not use the high-value detainee interrogation group. Also, Michael Leiter, chief of the National Counterterrorism Center, said he was not consulted.
Director Blair now concedes that Abdulmutallab should have been treated as terrorism detainee when the plane landed.  I am very skeptical that the FBI agents on the ground in Detroit made the decision to let this terrorist lawyer up.  But if a mistake was made by FBI agents on the ground, that does not excuse the continuation of his treatment as a civilian court "suspect."  As veteran U.S. prosecutor Andy McCarthy recently and eloquently argued at National Review, the President could have reversed this decision at any time:
President Obama could have designated Abdulmutallab an enemy combatant, detained him as a war prisoner, denied him counsel, and had him interrogated until we’d exhausted his reservoir of information. Indeed, the president could still do that. He could direct the attorney general to table the indictment. Then, some time down the road, he could hand Abdulmutallab back to the Justice Department for prosecution.
Marc Theissen's new book Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack provides clear evidence and detail of terror attacks that were prevented as a result of information obtained by enhanced interrogation techniques.  Theissen offers you a free chapter of his book here:
This chapter tells the previously untold story of how the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed helped disrupt the biggest al-Qaeda attack since 9/11: the plot to hijack seven airplanes taking off from London's Heathrow airport, and blow them up en route to cities across north America. It's the reason you can't take liquids in your cabin luggage any more.

No comments:

Post a Comment