Monday, February 01, 2010

Today's Reading Assignment

...from former CIA Director Michael Hayden, writing in the Washington Post. In his op-ed, General Hayden notes that the Obama Administration has taken "several wrong paths" in its counter-terrorism strategy. Then, he proceeds to blast the President and his national security team. A few sample paragraphs:

We got it wrong in Detroit on Christmas Day. We allowed an enemy combatant the protections of our Constitution before we had adequately interrogated him. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is not "an isolated extremist." He is the tip of the spear of a complex al-Qaeda plot to kill Americans in our homeland.

In the 50 minutes the FBI had to question him, agents reportedly got actionable intelligence. Good. But were there any experts on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in the room (other than Abdulmutallab)? Was there anyone intimately familiar with any National Security Agency raw traffic to, from or about the captured terrorist? Did they have a list or photos of suspected recruits?

When questioning its detainees, the CIA routinely turns the information provided over to its experts for verification and recommendations for follow-up. The responses of these experts -- "Press him more on this, he knows the details" or "First time we've heard that" -- helps set up more detailed questioning.

None of that happened in Detroit. In fact, we ensured that it wouldn't. After the first session, the FBI Mirandized Abdulmutallab and -- to preserve a potential prosecution -- sent in a "clean team" of agents who could have no knowledge of what Abdulmutallab had provided before he was given his constitutional warnings. As has been widely reported, Abdulmutallab then exercised his right to remain silent.

Hayden also notes that the administration has failed to assemble its highly-touted high-value interrogation group, designed to debrief terrorism suspects. But there has been no difficulty in building a legal team to interrogate intelligence operatives accused of violating those suspect's rights. As Hayden observes, the Obama "approach" to terrorism has
devastated morale among field agents:

Intelligence officers need to know that someone has their back. After the Justice memos (that authorized enhanced interrogations) were released in April, CIA officers began to ask whether the people doing things that were currently authorized would be dragged through this kind of public knothole in five years. No one could guarantee that they would not.


Some may celebrate that the current Justice Department's perspective on the war on terrorism has become markedly more dominant in the past year. We should probably understand the implications of that before we break out the champagne. That apparently no one recommended on Christmas Day that Abdulmutallab be handled, at least for a time, as an enemy combatant should be concerning. That our director of national intelligence, Denny Blair, bravely said as much during congressional testimony this month is cause for hope.

But our hopes should be tempered. After Blair made those remarks, he was publicly criticized by the White House and directed to "revise" his comments. Dutifully, Admiral Blair did just that.


Dedicated_Dad said...

The panty-bomber (and the shoe-bomber, and any other jihadist scum) are not US citizens, and thus not entitled to Constitutional protections.

They should be interrogated - in as brutal a manner as necessary - then given a bullet to the medulla, after which they should receive what I've termed "Molecular Justice" (see )

These people are not "soldiers" - they're engaging in "sapper" style terrorist attacks while not in any discernable uniform - ergo they are "unlawful enemy combatants" and by International law subject to summary execution.

They are - in the truest sense of the term - "non-persons" as a result of their own choices.

They deserve no better than what I've described.

Further, General "Black-Jack" Pershing knew how to deal with such scum - Molecular Justice ups the ante just a bit and enables us to deal with an almost limitless number of them.

Even those who succeed in "martyrdom" during an attack should have any scraps we can scrape up subjected to Molecular Justice - which (by their death-cult's rules) will ensure they never see the paradise they crave.

Tell me a better way to stop them, and I might reconsider my position - as it is, I think this is our best option.


Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: