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January 20, 2010

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Jack is Back!

This issue is in the newly minted Senator Scott Brown's wheelhouse. He is a JAG officer and it will be interesting to see what committee assignments he gets. I say put him in there with Intelligence and in Justice. Kerry has foreign affairs and there is no way you're going to get two from MA on that committee.

One of his lines during the campaign IIRC was to stop spending money on lawyers for terrorists

PaulV

what were TK'a committees?

clarice

There's more--per Byron York in the Washington Examiner..FBI Director Mueller told the Senate Judiciary committee, he'd not been informed the underwear bomber was going to be treated as a criminal defendant either. The decision was made completely by the FBI agents on the scene with no input (and no protocoal even after Ft Hood) to tell them what to do.

Now, boys and girls why do you think this is? I think it's because Holder and Obama have signalled this is what they want and the moos on the scene were playng by the unwritten kiss ass rules.

clarice

**mooGs**

NK

I swear to Almighty God that Barry O's crew is asking for [another] Jihadi mass murder on U.S. soil. They are maniacs.

Ignatz

--'duh'--

Everybody feeling safer now?

Old Lurker

I think blaming it on the guys at the gate makes the leadership look even more incompetent and clueless. NOBODY is going to believe that this was not determined from the top.

clarice

OL--I believe by not giving them guidelines--which they do for everything from expense vouchers to correspondence--on how to handle these cases is deliberate. No one wants to ruffle the Obama-Holder team who want these cases treated as criminal matters. It is inconceivable to me that the notion of writing up a protocol for such matters, even after Ft Hood, never crossed their minds.

Appalled

Is that "duh" or "d'oh!"

narciso

Much like the Levi guidelines, hamstrung coninterintelligence efforts for at least
a decade, so would Holder's statements about
prosecuting CIA interrogators. Add to the that
the likes of Soufan, telling everyone loudly
that the soft touch is the only thing that works.

Is Admiral Blair, pretending that he didn't know which team he had signed up with, selecting Panetta should have been a clue

Old Lurker

You are so right, Clarice. I think they still use Jimmy's rules for access to the tennis courts.

Old Lurker

Jimmy's = Jimma's

pagar

'Duh' is a highly classified program that can only be released on a need to know basis after every one who has a need to know is deceased.

For example from Atlas Shrugs we learn. The Army has a 86 page report on an incident that occurred recently at Ft. Hood
where Americans were killed. The 86 page report does not mention who killed these Americans not does it mention the religion of the Killer.

In another 'Duh' report, we learn that
in Munich, Germany;

"An airport security instrument alerted officials to possible explosives as the man's laptop was being checked, police said. He then hastily left the scene carrying the computer into the terminal"
.
Article

Remember if you see a 'DUH' do not attempt to apprehend as they are easily confused.


Terry Gain

"...it was a mistake for authorities to give the accused bomber in the attempted Christmas Day attack on a U.S.-bound airliner a reading of his Miranda right to an attorney"

He has no Miranda rights.

" Blair noted that the administration has created a special team for interrogating high-value terrorism suspects and that it wasn’t used -- but should have been -- after the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of attempting to take down the Northwest Airlines flight traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit".

Is Blair not aware that the system worked?

" Lieberman said he was very concerned that Napolitano wasn't consulted about how he should be treated, given the security concerns which would surround trying a suspect in Detroit or anywhere else in the U.S."

What good would it have done to consult Napolitano?

As I predicted before he was elected anyone soft headed enough to advocate that Iraq be conceded (to al Qaeda and Iran) is unfit to be CIC.

narciso

I think that's the successor agency to DHS, Pagar, who do they think they are fooling.

Ranger

You know, I really think at this point they are crossing over into "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." If it is true that this guy was talking until he was Mirandized, then the decision to do so was effectively halting the gathering of information damaging to al Qaeda. Halting the gathering of information that could lead to damage to the organization would definatly count as giving aid to al Qaeda.

Mike Huggins

For the AG and POTUS, I vote "clueless idiots," sort of like the Larry Hagman character in "The Eagle Has Landed."

bad

We are doomed with these idiots at the helm.

anduril

Obama better hope he can somehow keep HC in the news, because if this stuff becomes the hot issue he hasn't seen deep doo-doo yet.

JM Hanes

So, we can pencil in the DNI and the Secretary of Homeland Security next to Obama on the list of people AG Holder doesn't consult.

Hi bad! I can't wait for the new TSA advisories, can you?

Danube of Thought

The decision in this case was indefensible, but the underlying problem is much greater than this "mistake." There is no reason on earth--and no requirement in the law--either to restrict interrogators to procedures set forth in the Army Field Manual or to have the FBI do the interrogation instead of the CIA.

We will pay a price for this down the road.

narciso

If he was a Canadian veteran of Afghanistan, she might have been interested

Cecil Turner

This issue is in the newly minted Senator Scott Brown's wheelhouse.

And he's pitch perfect on it:

And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.
The hopeful sign is that after years of propaganda, 58% of Americans are still willing to use coercive interrogation techniques on folks who richly deserve such treatment.

Old Lurker

Bad! I was asking about you last night. Been hiding?

anduril

After reviewing the York account, which is incomplete, what puzzles me is that there doesn't appear to have been any contact with either the DoJ or the local US Attorney's office. It's true that the FBI would have its own lawyers available as well, but it seems unusual that there should be no guidelines for dealing with a person of this sort, i.e., non-citizen captured inbound. I mean, this is a very forseeable situation.

I wonder whether we're getting the full story here and whether Justice may have been more involved than we know. Not necessarily on the scene, but whether they had issued instructions or advice of some sort re Mirandizing.

pagar

Ranger, I agree 100%. But we have so many that fall in that category. From Americans leading the stateside movement to insure the North Vietnamese won the Vietnam War, coming forward to today.

Hillary is doing her part also.
"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has signed orders enabling the re-entry of professors Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in England and Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg in South Africa once they obtain required admittance documents, department spokesman Darby Holladay said."

""Both the president and the secretary of state have made it clear that the U.S. government is pursuing a new relationship with Muslim communities based on mutual interest and mutual Respect," Holladay said."

Somehow, I don't think respect means the same in both languages.

Jane

Major Garrett thinks this story is a HUGE scandal - if anyone covers it.

bad

Hey JMH and OL. Just been a little under the weather with a virus that was going around.

Much better now.

bad

This entire administration is a huge scandal if anyone would cover it...

hit and run

xoxoxo to bad!

Congrats Brown!

Yay team!

Niters!

clarice

People who've never worked in large organizations --like govt depts--might miss this..Protocols are written so that in the heat of the moment every one down the line knows exactly what to do. The claim that no one told Mueller or Blair means there was no written protocol--not even after the Ft Hood massacre.

Given that Holder has muddied the waters as to when we will treat these people as combatants and when we will treat them as criminals, there is as I predicted when he made that pronouncement (basically that he'd use an ad hoc after the event judgement) every reason to believe there is massive confusion. That confusion is so great everyone at the bottom will assume (as I aslo predicted) that they are to use the most restrictive handling--treat these bums as criminals, not enemies of the state.Only no one higher up the chain wants to take responsibility for that.

Melinda Romanoff

clarice-

then what happens to accidental weapons discharge, or say, passengers "fixing" the problem themselves.

Any thoughts? That seems to be the next natural progression.

pagar

Narciso, I don't believe 'Duh' will replace DHS because they would have to get Senate approval for the 'Duh' director if it were Cabinet level. I think they will give the position to 'Duh' czar.

Bad, Glad to see you back!

Melinda Romanoff

bad-

so glad you're feeling better.

And you scared hit off again.

Janet

I swear to Almighty God that Barry O's crew is asking for [another] Jihadi mass murder on U.S. soil.

Sadly you are literally correct NK.
Like pagar posted at 7:39 the State Dept. is inviting them over. LUN is JWF post on it.

Soylent Red

That confusion is so great everyone at the bottom will assume (as I aslo predicted) that they are to use the most restrictive handling--treat these bums as criminals, not enemies of the state.Only no one higher up the chain wants to take responsibility for that.

The avoidance of responsibility is the hallmark of how the system is set up. Once, God forbid, something terrible happens, responsibility can be delegated downward because there is no established protocol for where it should reside.

That is, shit always rolls downhill in a dysfunctional satrapy like Holder's DoJ. Initially, underlings will err on the side of the most restrictive handling. Eventually, they will devise methods to err on the side of CYA.

And just so I can be clear...

Bait and switch civil rights and shifting legal standards like this are the current Administration's remedy for the fear and loathing they say was caused by Club Gitmo and military tribunals?

Mike Huggins

From Newsweek: WH hits back and whacks Blair

Blah, blah, blah - OK, again, why wasn't he treated as an enemy combatant??? You won't find out from Isikoff and Hosenball. Just a lot of WH misdirection. Gee, I feel safer already!

clarice

"then what happens to accidental weapons discharge, or say, passengers "fixing" the problem themselves'

Then you'd geet no useful intelligence from the jihadis, would you?
I want Congress to force Holder and Obama to backtrack and treat enemy combatants as enemy combatants and if they are too dumb to do it on their own and Congress too stu[id, I want public anger to swell to the point they relent.

Melinda Romanoff

I would think that the intelligence gained would be a moot point if the public is incensed enough. If the public knows that there's nothing to lose because the government isn't going to try to protect them over a jihadi, it's not going to end well for the jihadi earlier than you might think. This Administration won't change over some little peasant anger.

I get your point, and now you've gotten mine. And I will be on edge on a flight, for my sake.

But thanks for the clarification, I admire your hopes.

pagar

Janet, that was a good link, thanks. For some reason, I don't get to their site much, but they do some fine posts.

JM Hanes

I'm wondering less about why all these folks weren't consulted, than about why none of them were involved enough to ask, let alone issue instructions. Every time we hear from Blair, he's passing a buck. The revelation that it never occurred to the DNI that we might run into a terrorist on U.S. soil is stunning.

I should also think that informing someone of his rights is not the legal equivalent of according him rights that he does not already have. An arresting officer could tell an "alleged" bomber that he had a right to order pizza from Domino's, but saying it wouldn't make it so.

"the decision was made on the scene."

My sympathies are with the guys on the scene. Abdulmutallab was clearly more than a "person of interest." They were probably afraid not to Mirandize a high profile "suspect," especially if he was spouting off info that a prosecutor might want to use in court -- and especially absent any explicit DoJ policy or regs establishing how, when and where such a decision should be kicked upstairs.

I think we've removed all doubt about whether or not all of the folks in charge were asleep at the wheel. I haven't heard the audio, but I suspect "And, duh" was a transcription error for "And, uh," but Freudian slips spring to mind.

anduril

The more I think about this, the more I tend to the view that we haven't got the whole story yet. I don't say it's impossible that it went down as Mueller suggests, but I'll have to be convinced of that. Until convinced I'm gonna assume that there's more to the story. Just because the agents on the scene didn't consult Mueller doesn't mean that they didn't consult anyone else, and it doesn't mean they hadn't received some instructions or legal briefing. That's the overwhelmingly most likely scenario.

This is where Republicans being stupid really hurts. Sessions definitely didn't ask the right questions, and Mueller wasn't volunteering any information. It could have been worse, of course. We could have had a JOMer asking the questions. Still it's a damn shame somebody like me wasn't doing the questioning.

Obama has dodged a bullet here--so far.

bgates

President Barack Obama has said he intends to close that facility.

Actually, he said, "Guantanamo. That’s easy. Close down Guantanamo." And he'd promised it would be done by today.

But like Nancy says, he said a lot of things on the campaign trail.

And since he took office.

daddy

"I'm wondering less about why all these folks weren't consulted, than about why none of them were involved enough to ask"

Excellent point JMH,

If they truly understood that their number 1 mission in their current positions were to protect this nation from Terrorist attacks then they should have been screaming from the rooftops the instant this happened, and if that didn't happen, then they should have gone rogue and publicly resigned.

I'm hopeful that the reason we are now hearing about it is that maybe with this drubbing Obama just took in Massachusetts, maybe they sense his inner circle has lost its shield of invulnerability and that they finally feel they can begin to speak up.
If so, wonder what other horrendous stuff will be hitting the fan in the next few days?

JM Hanes

clarice:

"I want public anger to swell to the point they relent."

I thought it was very interesting that Scott Brown's chief strategist said that National Security was a key part of his candidate's message. I read or heard a political analyst somewhere saying that if you look at Brown's numbers, the lift off really got underway after the bombing attempt.

Cecil Turner

Surely somebody knows who made the decision to treat this guy like a common criminal (Holder?), and whether or not he had any instructions. You think the much vaunted "transparency" of this administration would've made this an open book. The fact that it's not (and that their own department heads can't explain it) does not bode well.

I mean, besides the fact that the decision was obviously wrong . . . which doesn't help.

clarice

I suppose that Sessions will next call in the FBI agents involved and we'll find out, but I suspect they didn't have to be told. If KSM is being tried in NYC because his actions affected civilians, why should Mr hot underpants be treated differently? It wasn't a military plane.

Dorothy Jane

Be scared. Very scared. The only thing we have running in our favor is the fact that the terrorists are concentrating on filling depends with bomb materials in Yemen. hHat if they finally clue in and decide to start smuggling automatic weapons into malls - like 100 in one day or something. It amazes me how primitive they still are. And we don't seem to be doing anything to stay one step ahead - anymore -

narciso

There is no logic to the way this happened, even after he landed, someone should have put
the dossier together, maybe I've been watching
too much NCIS and 24, The Nigerian from Yemen
with an underwear bomb, they should have gotten him and wrung out the other members of
the cell, he was training with

jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

"I'm wondering less about why all these folks weren't consulted, than about why none of them were involved enough to ask"

Excellent point JMH,

If they truly understood that their number 1 mission in their current positions were to protect this nation from Terrorist attacks then they should have been screaming from the rooftops the instant this happened, and if that didn't happen, then they should have gone rogue and publicly resigned.

This is the crux of it, ISTM.

Imagine you are: (a) the director of the FBI (b) the DNI (c) the CIC of USArmyNorth (f/k/a 5th Army) (d) the Army COS (e) the Secretary of the Army (f) the Secretary of Defense (g) the President of the US (a/k/a the Commander in Chief and saw on the evening news that a foreign national had been removed from an international plane in Michigan trying to blow it up with a bomb in his pants.

Why wouldn't your first reaction be WTFO? Why wouldn't you order him to be put into custody as a enemy combatant? What sane protocol would require anything different when you are at war?

PD

Speaking of 24: Are there really drones flying over NYC? The dialogue seemed to imply there are.

narciso

The idea is that supposedly CTU, would have access to such a fleet, which we see what happens when you don't have 'boots on the ground'. It is still too accessible a location, you know they will be taken down
later in the season

Neo

OMG the doors of this nation are wide open

We are being protected by the Keystone Cops.

JM Hanes

Jim Rhoads:

I'm still not sure why he is necessarily and irrevocably committed to the civilian system just because he was read his rights (pizza!) when he shouldn't have been. I know Bush once reserved to himself the power to designate someone as an enemy combatant. Whether or not that privilege bit the dust, we've just seen Holder unilaterally transfer KSM from the military to the civilian track even though the process in which he was going to plead guilty was already underway. If the A.G. has the power to do that, why not the reverse?

I find it hard to believe that there's no potential remedy when a couple of guys on their own devices in Detroit accidentally feed Abdulmutallab into the wrong system because they just didn't get the memo. Apparently the entire course of Abdulmutallab's legal future has been determined by somebody "on the scene" that the DNI, the Secretary of HS and the FBI Director can't or have just decided not to identify. At the same time, they're all acting as if there's nothing they can do about it.

narciso

Here's yet another example, of the wonderful situation we find ourselves in, the LUN

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

I think you are right, JMH, that the decision to treat him as a criminal defendant is not irrevocable. And it is also possible that he is now being questioned as an enemy combatant after having been read his rights. Giving everyone up the chain of command the benefit of the doubt (which is difficult for me to do) it could be that they are pretending he was treated as a criminal defendant when, in fact, he is being treated as an enemy combatant.

That would be a good tactic if the goal is to get information from the panty bomber rather than prosecuting him. It would also serve to take away a propaganda advantage that Al Queda could exploit.

An interesting thought.

bgates

the lift off really got underway after the bombing attempt

Does anybody question the timing anymore? Is that still a thing?

JM Hanes

Interesting indeed, Jim. It would be nice to have more confidence that this Administration would actually contemplate that approach and that there might be a good reason DNI Blair was left making lame excuses. In that context, it also occurs to me to wonder why these hearings are being conducted in public.

Cecil Turner

the lift off really got underway after the bombing attempt

Per the reported Brown internal polling, that was a decisive issue. But it's hard to tell from timing alone, since it practically coincided with the culmination of the sleaziest of the health care voting.

Cecil Turner

it could be that they are pretending he was treated as a criminal defendant

I'd love to think so (especially since it'd be fun to watch and see if Kos's eyes bugged out even more when his head exploded) . . . but as a practical political matter I'd rate the probability somewhere around nil.

Jim Rhoads a/k/a vjnjagvet

To pretend to look stupid, JMH? If so, they are really doing a great job. And they criticized Bush for not "connecting the dots" after 9/11.

JM Hanes

True that, Cecil, the sleaze factor was huge.

Pofarmer

Be scared. Very scared. The only thing we have running in our favor is the fact that the terrorists are concentrating on filling depends with bomb materials in Yemen. hHat if they finally clue in and decide to start smuggling automatic weapons into malls - like 100 in one day or something. It amazes me how primitive they still are. And we don't seem to be doing anything to stay one step ahead - anymore -

Well, it's really worse than that. A motivated group, not afraid to be caught or die, could pretty easily take out really large chunks of our national power grid. There are an awful lot of huge transformer stations that are pretty much unregulated with just a chain link fence. I'm just thankful none of them seem that smart, yet.

Jane

the lift off really got underway after the bombing attempt

WEll don't discount the debate. Martha asserted that there were no terrorists left in Afghanistan.

That may have started things.

Extraneus

I find it hard to comprehend, that after all the sleaze, the unemployment, the earmarks, the bailouts, takeovers, bribes, arrogance, heavy-handedness and all the rest, that the decisive factor in the MA election was the panty-bomber. Maybe because I hope it's not true.

Cecil Turner

To pretend to look stupid, JMH? If so, they are really doing a great job.

Nice.

Maybe because I hope it's not true.

I think if you generalize the approach and consider all the factors (crappy intel analysis, lackadaisical list management, unserious response, and ACLU-approved combatant treatment) the panty bomber was actually a big deal. I tend to be focused on national security and so may be biased, but their perfectly wrongheaded approach was to me a very critical issue.

DebinNC

Maybe the staggering incompetence revealed after the pantybombing was the final straw on a long list of examples of "the government" messing up almost everything it touches. The MA outcome was an unequivocal answer to voters' question, "Do I want these nincompoops to control my healthcare?"

clarice

I think so, Deb, but then I think the govt's first job is national defense, not banning transfats or deciding how pre schoolers should be educated.

Ranger

BTW, don't forget that there is already a complete example of how to take someone into custoday as an enemy combatant arriving from a foreign country. They did it with Jose Padilla. The decision to treat this guy as a civilian criminal stems from the total rejection of the Padilla precident by Obama and Holder. The blame rests with them and the atmosphere of hyper legality they have created surrounding this war.

Sue

Maybe these underlings that read the undibomber his rights noticed how those agents that followed orders during the Bush administration are now facing trial and decided they didn't want to risk that fate?

Jack is Back!

"In my opinion, he's a prisoner of war, an enemy combatant."

Sorry, Joe. You can't be both. The groin-bomber was an enemy combatant and should be treated as such by being shipped down to Gitmo and interrogated until the cows come home.

Rob Crawford

Sorry, Joe. You can't be both. The groin-bomber was an enemy combatant and should be treated as such by being shipped down to Gitmo and interrogated until the cows come home.

You're confusing things.

He clearly was a combatant -- he had a weapon.

What he wasn't was a lawful combatant. His target was civilian, he wasn't in uniform, and he wasn't carrying his weapon openly.

Since he's not a lawful combatant, he's not entitled to prisoner of war status.

JM Hanes

Extraneus:

It wasn't the bomber per se, but that he put the issue of national security squarely back on the table -- in two key respects. It focused skepticism and increasing anger in the Administration's law enforcement approach, now dramatically compounded by questions about the Adminstration's basic competence.

The consequences of undermining professionals in the field, as Sue noted, also includes transferring responsibility for preventative intel gathering from the CIA to the FBI whose mandate, and tools, have always been aimed at ex post facto apprehension and punishment. Those two imperatives came into direct conflict in Detroit, and the utter lack of any protocol for assigning precedence on the ground virtually predetermined the result. The FBI did the only thing they knew they were empowered to do.

glasater

There is a separate department within the FBI supposedly answerable to the WH--can't remember the name--but this situation does not sound good at all to me.

JM Hanes

TM has a new "Book 'Em" thread up on this topic.

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