Sunday, February 7, 2010

White House-Republicans Spar Over Abdulmutallab

Gary Fouse

On Tuesday of this week, White House press officials called in reporters to breathlessly announce that the Christmas bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was again talking to investigators after 5 weeks of silence. As we know, the suspect initially answered questions for 50 minutes before orders came down from Washington to give him his Miranda warning. That unleashed a storm of protest against the Justice Department and the Obama White House.

Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, has now stated that he was briefed the day before by FBI Director Robert Mueller with the warning that the information (that the suspect had resumed his cooperation) had to be kept secret. The next day, the White House told the world. Now the finger-pointing is going back and forth.

Of course, the Democrats are accusing the Republicans of politicizing a national security issue. Perhaps, but the fact remains that it was the White House that released information that should have been kept confidential.

White House press spokesman and professional comedian Roberts Gibbs (pictured below)

had previously stated that investigators had gathered all the information they needed in the 50 minutes they had to interview Abdulmutallab after his arrest. Well, if so, then what is the big deal about him cooperating now? We all know what the big deal is; the White House is desperately to stop the public criticism over the government's handling of this suspect. Every opinion poll shows that the majority of the public disagrees with Mirandizing Abdulmutallab and trying him in federal court-as opposed to turning him over to the military.

There are two lessons to be learned here; first, this suspect could have had information relative to a coordinated enemy attack on other planes or a future attack. Whatever he knew, 50 minutes would never be sufficient to fully debrief him and milk every last drop of information he had. We will never know what we could have achieved had he been turned over to military custody. Whatever he is saying now could already be dated information or relative to plans that have been altered.

Second; there is no sense in flooding our courts with this type of enemy. The model to be used is when a group of German saboteurs landed on our shores during the Second World War in order to bomb certain strategic targets. They were quickly captured, turned over to military custody, tried and most were hanged. In a sense, I would have more sympathy for the German operatives in the sense they were soldiers or spies acting on behalf of their country during a declared war. Yet, their military trial and execution violated no Geneva Convention rules since they were acting as spies in civilian dress. Terrorists don't fit into that category. In fact, they have created their own unique category.

There is no way that the White House can justify making public the fact that Abdulmutallab has been talking-either the day of his arrest or now. In law enforcement jargon, it's called, "burning your snitches".

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