Kristol: What Price Are We Paying for Not Treating Abdulmutallab as an Enemy Combatant?
4:40 PM, Dec 31, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, Dec. 29:
This has been changed in the online version to:
So apparently the authorities aren't holding out much hope for cooperation anymore, now that Abdulmutallab has been Mirandized and has a defense attorney.
The price we may be paying for the Obama's administration knee-jerk decision to treat Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect rather than an enemy combatant could be stunning. As a friend -- an attorney with national security experience -- points out in an e-mail, "In Abdulmutallab, we have a terrorist in custody who's probably a lot smarter than the Richard Reids and Zacarias Moussaouis of the world, at least based on his educational background, and who therefore may be a rich source of intelligence --and we're letting him invoke Constitutional protections that he has only by virtue of coming to our country to murder hundreds of people!"
I'd add that this is a guy who's been in very recent touch with important people in terror networks in -- at a minimum -- Africa, Yemen, and London. It's hard to believe he wouldn't have operational intelligence he could give us that would help us -- perhaps help us a lot. But we're not treating him as an enemy combatant, and therefore not treating his capture as an intelligence and counter-terrorism opportunity, but instead as a matter for the criminal justice system!
President Obama needs to address this question directly when he next speaks: Why is he continuing to treat Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect?