In a USA Today op-ed this week, assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser John Brennan wrote that "politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda." He's referring to the bipartisan criticism of the administration's decision to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber rather than detain Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant. Accusing your opponents of helping al Qaeda is not the best way to resolve an argument! Yesterday, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions took to the Senate floor to rebut Brennan's arguments. Roll tape:
MSNBC White House correspondents Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs some hard-hitting questions today.
Hinting that intelligence is perishable, Guthrie asks Gibbs, "Did you lose an opportunity to interrogate by Mirandizing too soon? This was not a product of reflection that went all the way to the top."
If you’ve paid any attention to the debate over where to prosecute international terrorists over the past several weeks, then you’ve probably heard the Obama administration talking point that anywhere from 190 to 300 terrorists have been successfully prosecuted in civilian courts since 2001.
Democratic postmortems on Barack Obama’s disappointing first year in the Oval Office have emphasized, as the president himself did, difficulties inherited from “the last eight years.” Republicans, for their part, credit public opposition to Obama’s overreaching policies. But a full explanation goes much deeper. Obama is failing because he has turned the constitutional functions of the presidency upside down.
Attorney General Eric Holder has been the Obama administration’s point man in revising the nation’s approach to terrorism. Holder said last summer that it was his decision to reinvestigate CIA operatives who had employed enhanced interrogation techniques during the Bush administration, although these individuals had been cleared by the Justice Department’s career prosecutors.
A frequent talking point trotted out in defense of the Obama administration's decision to try KSM in civilian court is that the U.S. has supposedly convicted 195 terrorists in federal court since 2001. In an important piece at NRO, Andy McCarthy debunks this bogus figure--you'll want to read the whole thing.
Changing the Zip Code of the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorists from New York City to Somewhere, U.S.A. does not solve the problems a civilian trial raised in the first place. The decision does provide some justice because hundreds of millions of dollars in security costs will not be borne by the city that was the major victim of this terrorist quintet. But security and other issues do not disappear with new geography; they just move to the next location.
As the Obama administration pulls the plug on hosting KSM's trial in Manhattan, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell makes clear he doesn't want the trial to be moved to his state. Jennifer Rubin gets this statement from the McDonnell's spokesman:
The governor is adamantly opposed to that trial taking place in Virginia. He has been unequivocal in his opposition to any trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees taking place in the Commonwealth. He will continue to make his strong opposition clear, and will work with Virginia’s congressional delegation to prevent any Guantanamo Bay detainees from setting foot in Virginia.
"President Obama has not changed his view on whether the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks should face trial in New York City, a White House spokesman said today," the New York Times reports. White House spokesman Bill Burton tells reporters that Obama "agrees with the attorney general’s opinion in November that he and others can be litigated successfully and secured in the United States of America."