McConnell: Who Gave the Christmas Day Bomber the Right to Remain Silent?
Obama's top counterterrorism adviser won't say who decided to Mirandize Abdulmutallab.
11:55 AM, Jan 21, 2010 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressing the Obama administration on questions about the handling of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber, and makes some news in the process. McConnell notes that several top national security officials offered disturbing testimony yesterday on Capitol Hill about the decisionmaking process on Abdulmutallab -- or why there wasn't one. This leads McConnell to seek answers to "several troubling questions."
Several Obama administration officials have offered partial answers to these questions. FBI Director Robert Mueller and Blair have both said that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab was made by agents on the ground -- something Mueller called "very appropriate" in separate testimony yesterday. But at other times, officials have suggested that the decision was made in consultation with higher-ranking officials. We know -- from the testimony yesterday -- that four of the nation's top counterterrorism officials were not asked for their views on handling Abdulmutallab as a criminal -- a group that includes Blair, Mueller, Michael Leiter, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, and Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security.
President Obama has pushed his agencies for more transparency and openness -- several times making the point that information should not be withheld to cover up mistakes or because it might prove embarrassing.
So why the silence?