Archive for the ‘Intel’ Category

Dianne Feinstein’s op-ed is a tortured attempt to rationalize the Democrats’ last attempt to throw mud at President Bush. It’s time to expose Sen. Feinstein’s tortured logic.

In the wake of 9/11, we were desperate to bring those responsible for the brutal attacks to justice. But even that urgency did not justify torture. The United States must be held to a higher standard than our enemies, yet some of our actions did not clear that bar.

When people’s lives are at stake, every tactic must be on the table. Protecting people’s lives must always be a higher priority than living up to an imaginary international standard for polite societies. What Sen. Feinstein and the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee just said is that protecting people is less important than living up to an imaginary international image.

Thank God the president’s oath doesn’t give him that luxury. His oath is to protect the United States. Period.

Thankfully, Ralph Peters’ op-ed sets Sen. Feinstein and the Democrats serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee straight:

As for those supposedly horrendous actions taken by CIA personnel to convince blood-encrusted terrorists that cooperation might be the wisest course, they may have been harsh, but the times and our enemies were and are immeasurably harsher. But torture? What the Islamic State and its ilk do to their captives is torture. They shrink from nothing. We shrink from the thought of a terrorist gasping for breath.

Harsh interrogation techniques don’t equal torture. Any nation that’s squeamish about making life a living hell for terrorists won’t live a peaceful existence. Democrats insist that ‘we’re better than that.’ Here’s a question for Sen. Feinstein and her fellow Democrats: What’s better than protecting American lives?

Here’s how Col. Peters took Sen. Feinstein and the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats to the woodshed:

Senator Feinstein and her supporters argue that the American people have a “right to know,” but they don’t know the American people. Living too long in a bubble with fellow members of the cultural elite, they have no sense of how the average American feels about terrorists who fly passenger aircraft into skyscrapers or who gleefully behead innocent captives in video clips.

Far from being mortified by water-boarding or sleep deprivation (for working Americans sleep deprivation is a normal state of affairs from holding down two jobs and multiple shifts to feed their families during the Reign of Obama), the folks I know back home in the Pennsylvania coal towns would skin terrorists alive then get out the salt shaker. My people weren’t upset by water-boarding. They were upset—infuriated—by the collapse of the Twin Towers and the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

The Pennsylvanians Col. Peters described in his op-ed are clear-thinking people living in the real world. These Pennsylvanians have their priorities straight. As I said earlier, protecting people’s lives must always be America’s highest priority. Sen. Feinstein and the other Democrats serving on the Intelligence Committee apparently think that we’re living in a peaceful world. When barbarians with a seventh century mindset attacked the United States, they gave the United States permission to be more barbaric than the terrorists were. (Think fighting fire with fire or all’s fair in love and war.)

It’s time for the Democrats to recognize that the barbarians haven’t stopped thinking barbaric thoughts. They’ve changed tactics but they’re still just as barbaric as al-Qa’ida was. That’s just the cold, hard truth.

It’s time for President Obama, Secretary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus and Defense Secretary Panetta to be grilled extensively on their decisions, or lack thereof, during the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2012. I don’t want this hearing to be about a ton of peripheral topics. Citizen journalists will sort through Susan Rice’s and Jay Carney’s spin.

This shouldn’t even be about President Obama attending a Vegas fundraiser the day after the terrorist attacks. Again, that’s something citizen journalists can sort through. Here are the things this hearing must be about:

  1. Who was the first senior administration official to get real time reports from the consulate the day of the terrorist attack? Did this senior administration official report this immediately to President Obama? If not, why not?
  2. When did President Obama’s national security team first tell him about the terrorist attack? Was this during his afternoon meeting with Defense Secretary Panetta the day of the terrorist attack?
  3. During his meeting with Secretary Panetta, did President Obama order Panetta to send troops to protect the diplomatic staff in Benghazi? If he didn’t order protection for these American patriots during his meeting with Secretary Panetta, did President Obama order military support later in the day? If not, why not?
  4. Secretary Panetta said that he didn’t send troops in because they didn’t know what they’d be jumping into. Mike Baker dispelled that myth by saying the CIA and military are receiving a “glut of information” in real time from the CIA, specifically the Global Response Staff. Did Secretary Panetta recommend to President Obama that the military jump into the firefight/terrorist attack? If he did, what was President Obama’s response? If he didn’t, why didn’t he make that recommendation?
  5. When did Charlene Lamb first tell Hillary Clinton about the terrorist attack? When she was told about the terrorist attack, did Ms. Clinton immediately contact President Obama? If not, why not? If she did, what time was it that she contacted him?
  6. President Obama was the only person with the constitutional authority to order troop deployments during an act of war. Terrorist attacks on American consulates are without question acts of war. Did he order spec-ops troops to be deployed to Benghazi to protect the diplomats from the terrorist attack? If he didn’t, why didn’t he?

These hearings need to start with focusing in on a single subject so the American people get a detailed understanding of President Obama’s national security team operations and his decisions to protect or not protect Christopher Stevens and his diplomatic staff.

Once that base of information is established and the American people understand President Obama’s failings, then the hearings can expand into other areas. Until then, they must stay focused.
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Tonight’s debate wasn’t the substantive debate that conservatives were hoping for. When Vice President Biden rolled his eyes the first time, I wondered if that was a signal for what was ahead. It was.

Let’s be clear about this. Vice President Biden was the aggressor tonight. That’s almost automatically a sign of who won the debate. Tonight was the exception to that rule.

It isn’t that I think Paul Ryan won tonight’s debate, though he showed he’s more than capable of being a heartbeat away from the presidency. It’s that Joe Biden was consistently dismissive of Ryan.

There’s no question that the MSNBC crowd is ecstatic tonight. If I got a sawbuck for each of their internal and external fistpumps, I’d have enough to pay for a lavish month-long vacation in the Carribbean. There’s equally no question that Vice President Biden’s antics turned off independents and women. This video of Greta van Susteren interviewing Brit Hume says everything:

Vice President Biden didn’t just turn off Brit Hume and Greta van Susteren. He turned off Chris Wallace, too:

That’s only part of Vice President Biden’s problem. When asked about additional security forces for the Benghazi Consulate, Vice President Biden said that the administration didn’t know about requests for additional security. That’s a bald-faced lie according Wednesday’s testimony:

“We weren’t told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there,” Biden said.

First, this administration’s insistence that they didn’t know about the requests is frightening. Either the administration is lying about not knowing or they weren’t interested in the security conditions at a consulate in a growing terrorist hotspot.

If Vice President Biden wants us to believe that this administration didn’t pay attention to the escalating terrorist threats near the consulate, then he’s asking us to believe that they don’t pay attention to growing terrorist threats around the world.

That’s frightening.

The good news for Democrats about tonight’s debate is that it fired up the progressive base. The bad news is it turned off the other 70+ percent of the voters.

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This afternoon’s hearing on the terrorist attacks to the Benghazi Consulate have been explosive. One such exchange happened between Rep. Raul Labrador, (R-ID), and Patrick Kennedy, the Undersecretary of State for Administration. Here’s the transcript of that exchange:

REP. LABRADOR: Ambassador Kennedy, you said that, if any administration official, including any career official, had been on television on Sunday, Sept. 16, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. The information she had from the intelligence community — I see how specific you’re being — from the intelligence community — is the same information that I had at that point. Can you explain to me how it was that, on Sept. 12, you told congressional aides that you thought it was a terrorist attack?
AMBASSADOR KENNEDY: Congressman, I told them that because that was my personal opinion and that I also believed that, because of the nature of it and the lethality of it, that it was a complex attack.
REP. LABRADOR: So how can you sit here today and say that the following day, you had an idea that it was a terrorist attack, and you have said that you aren’t a security expert, how can you claim today that you would have said the same thing as Ambassador Rice said?

This is explosive because it’s telling us this administration used Clintonesque wording to spin the terrorist attack into a simple impromptu uprising, something it clearly wasn’t.

Lt. Col. Andy Wood and Eric Nordstrom, both security experts, said security experts knew almost instantly that this was a terrorist attack. The question then turns from why Ambassador Rice relied on the narrowest, Clintonian spin rather than telling the nation that this was a terrorist attack.

The most obvious reason Ambassador Rice didn’t say that was because that didn’t the storyline Democrats spent a week in Charlotte creating. At their convention, speaker after speaker said that we couldn’t trust Gov. Romney on national security, that President Obama had lots of national security experience and a lengthy list of national security accomplishments.

This terrorist attack happened just days after the Democratic National Convention. It would’ve demolished Vice President Biden’s line that “bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.”

The truth is that bin Laden is dead but al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organizations are regrouping. The Benghazi attack is proof of that. Another truth is that President Bush’s strategy of taking the fight to the terrorists is the only strategy that’s capable of stopping terrorist attacks long before they’re set into operation.

President Obama won’t admit it but that’s the truth.

What’s apparent from the hearing is that security experts like Mr. Nordstrom and Lt. Col. Wood painted a dramatically different picture of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Benghazi Consulate than did the political appointees in the State Department.

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Each Monday on America Live with Megyn Kelly, Brad Blakeman, an assistant to GWB, debates Dick Harpootlian, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. For the most part, Harpootlian is an inoffensive buffoon. This afternoon, that changed during a debate about why the terrorist attack on the Benghazi Consulate succeeded. First, here’s a little background into what’s caused the latest stir:

Lt. Col. Andy Wood participated in this interview with CBS national security correspondent Cheryl Attkinson:

It’s stunning and disheartening to hear Lt. Col. Wood say that he felt like they were asking them “to play the piano with 2 fingers.”

That clip was the introduction to an explosive debate, including this exchange between Mr. Harpootlian and Mr. Blakeman:

BLAKEMAN: You guys don’t want the American people to know the truth. You just want to ride this out and hope that the American people will pay attention to something else when this administration was either grossly incompetent or willfully lying to the American people. And now it’s substantiated by an American military person…
HARPOOTLIAN: We don’t know what his (LT. Col. Wood) axe is to grind, Brad. All I’m saying is why scour this days before an election…
BLAKEMAN: Because the American people deserve answers…
HARPOOTLIAN: Oh, the American people. The American people don’t want an answer.

Remember that Harpootlian is the dirtbag that compared Gov. Nikki Haley to Hitler’s mistress.

It’s disgusting that Mr. Harpootlian would argue that “the American people don’t want” an explanation for why President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ignored Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ repeated requests to beef up security before the anniversary of 9/11.

Arguing that the American people aren’t interested in this administration’s weakening the Benghazi Consulate’s security isn’t stupid. It’s their attempt to hide the fact that this administration’s decisions led directly to the deaths of 4 Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

As the campaign heads into the home stretch, President Obama’s questionable decisions are coming home to roost. His decisions have needlessly gotten high-ranking officials killed, including the first American ambassador killed since 1979.

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When Susan Rice appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, she talked about the ongoing FBI investigation:

Videotape; September 16, 2012

SUSAN RICE (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations): Let me tell you the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what have just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted of course by the video.

Like this administration’s other lies about the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate, the ongoing FBI investigation has been exposed a myth:

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland confirms to the Post that “Everybody who was in Benghazi and posted there has been withdrawn,” adding that she knew of no other American officials in the region who’d be able to investigate the assault.

This administration’s decision not to send a team of FBI investigators looks weak to the terrorists:

“I don’t know why the Americans don’t come here,” Wissam Bin Hamid, commander of the Libyan Shield Brigade, tells the Times. Bin Hamid says his militia came under sustained attack while helping defend a second American compound on Sept. 11, but now with no aid, Benghazi is being transformed into a ghost town, he tells the paper.

“Maybe they are afraid,” bin Hamid adds, offering a possible explanation for why the United States has ceased any on-the-ground investigation.

This administration’s paper tiger streak is showing. Their administration’s decision not to investigate doesn’t mean we don’t know that this was a terrorist attack. It doesn’t mean we don’t know that this administration didn’t adequately fortify the Benghazi consulate. It simply means that we have proof that this administration knows that their reaction to the terrorist attack isn’t playing well with the American people.

On Monday, the Post reported that the main compound used by American diplomats in Benghazi was unguarded and heavily looted, and The Atlantic Wire reports that “the FBI has still not been able to visit the compound, set up any operations in the city or even interview any witnesses who were present during the terrorist attack.”

It’s shameful that CNN conducted a more thorough investigation than the FBI was allowed to conduct. It’s important to remember that they were the ones that found Ambassador Stevens’ diary in the compound.

What’s worse is that this administration is repeating the last 2 weeks worth of lies over again:

Carney said that “embassy security is a matter that is in the purview of the State Department,” and noted that “Secretary Clinton instituted an accountability review that is underway as we speak” while the investigation of the attack itself is being conducted by the FBI.

I repeat: there isn’t an FBI investigation. I hate invoking President Reagan at a time like this but “there they go again.” First Amb. Rice talks about an ongoing FBI investigation. Then Jay Carney talks about the ongoing FBI investigation. The last time we noticed that pattern was after Ms. Rice said that the terrorist attack was really a reaction to a movie trailer nobody had seen.

It’s time the American people spoke out and demanded that the Obama administration start telling the truth. Whether you’re a liberal’s liberal like Pat Caddell or a conservative’s conservative like Jason Chaffetz or somewhere in between, it isn’t acceptable for any administration to lie to We The People.

What’s most troubling is that this administration isn’t telling little white lies about a nothing matter. They’re intentionally misleading We The People about a deadly terrorist attack that should’ve been prevented.

Another troubling pattern about this story is this administration’s unwillingness to call terrorists terrorists:

About the list of security issues, Carney said it was a “known fact that Libya is in transition” and that in the eastern part of Libya in particular there are militant groups and “a great number of armed individuals and militias.”

At times, I wonder if this administration thinks saying the word terrorist will lead to a deadly pox on the US. They’ve certainly avoided using that word like it was toxic.

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In 1979, Islamic extremists raided the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. In 1983, U.S. Marines were ordered out of Beirut after a massive attack killed 241 Marines. In 1993, the Clinton administration ordered U.S. troops out of Somalia after al-Qa’ida terrorists shot down a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter in Mogadishu.

UBL summarized the lesson al-Qa’ida learned from those experiences during an interview with ABC News’ John Miller:

Miller: You have said, “If the Americans are so brave they will come and arrest me.” Do you think that is something my country will try?

Bin Ladin: We have seen in the last decade the decline of the American government and the weakness of the American soldier. He is ready to wage cold wars but unprepared to fight hot wars. This was proven in Beirut when the Marines fled after two explosions, showing they can run in less than twenty-four hours. This was then repeated in Somalia.

It’s easy to understand why UBL reached that conclusion. His mistake isn’t that Americans haven’t fled hotspots. It isn’t just that Americans have looked impotent. It’s that American presidents have contributed to U.S. soldiers looking impotent by having them flee after terrorist attacks.

The lesson that President Bush learned from these lessons is that terrorists are terrified when U.S. soldiers don’t hide from adversity. Terrorists are most worried when U.S. soldiers run towards hotspots. Unfortunately, President Obama didn’t learn that lesson. He ‘learned’ that it’s best to be timid, to talk in civil tones to barbarians. That’s what he did here:

The president said the disputed election would not change his belief in greater diplomatic efforts with Iran.

“I have always felt that, as odious as I feel some of President Ahmadinejad ‘s statements (are), as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on core issues, the use of tough hard headed diplomacy, diplomacy without illusions, is critical when it comes to pursuing a core set of national security interests,” the president said. “We will continue to pursue a tough direct dialogue between our two countries.”

That’s what ABC’s Kristina Wong wrote on June 15, 2009 during the Green Revolution. What the Iranian mullahs heard was that President Obama was giving them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. They essentially heard President Obama say he was ambivalent to the protests.

A short 39 months later, North Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia have erupted in anti-American violence. The people serving in the U.S. embassy in Pakistan are only safe because the embassy compound is surrounded with a wall of tear gas. The consulate and annex, aka the safehouse, in Benghazi, Libya are decimated, the ruins the product of a well-planned, coordinated terrorist attack.

This is a great political opportunity for Mitt Romney because it’s a great opportunity for him to explain his vision and strategy for the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa. Simply saying that a Romney administration would a) have an open door relationship with Israel, b) use covert assets to prevent terrorist attacks and c) condition foreign aid on nations’ willingness to partner with the U.S. in preventing the security nightmares currently erupting around the Mediterranean.

That would dramatically differentiate Mitt’s foreign policy from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.

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H/T: Gatewaypundit

For years, Democrats have said that torture didn’t give intelligence officials actionable intelligence. These same Democrats classified waterboarding as torture. This Strib article actually proves that waterboarding works in getting actionable intelligence:

Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.

This isn’t my attempt to ridicule Democrats. Rather, it’s my attempt to persuade them into re-thinking their position on torture as part of the United States’ intelligence-gathering operation.

When it comes to dismantling the terrorists’ networks, there isn’t room for partisanship. There’s only room for doing the things that quickly dismantle the terrorists’ networks. After all, we’re talking about an existential struggle, possibly even the difference between life and death of innocents.

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Marc Thiessen has done a great job of exposing the Obama administration’s aversion to gathering intel. He’s done such a good job of it that the Washington Post is reporting about it:

When a window of opportunity opened to strike the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa last September, U.S. Special Operations forces prepared several options. They could obliterate his vehicle with an airstrike as he drove through southern Somalia. Or they could fire from helicopters that could land at the scene to confirm the kill. Or they could try to take him alive.

The White House authorized the second option. On the morning of Sept. 14, helicopters flying from a U.S. ship off the Somali coast blew up a car carrying Saleh Ali Nabhan. While several hovered overhead, one set down long enough for troops to scoop up enough of the remains for DNA verification. Moments later, the helicopters were headed back to the ship.

The strike was considered a major success, according to senior administration and military officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified operation and other sensitive matters. But the opportunity to interrogate one of the most wanted U.S. terrorism targets was gone forever.

The Nabhan decision was one of a number of similar choices the administration has faced over the past year as President Obama has escalated U.S. attacks on the leadership of al-Qaeda and its allies around the globe. The result has been dozens of targeted killings and no reports of high-value detentions.

Simply put, the Obama administration doesn’t want to capture terrorists because that’d mean they’d either have to keep Gitmo open or they’d have to find a country willing to house them. As Ed Morrissey notes in this post, there’s a simple solution to this question:

We could restore the ability to get that kind of intel if we just admitted we need Gitmo to remain open.

That won’t happen because President Obama would lose the support of his political base if he announced that.

A former intelligence official briefed on current operations tells the Post that killing, instead of capturing terrorists is far from ideal, saying “now there’s an even greater proclivity for doing it that way…We need to have the capability to snatch when the situation calls for it.”

He is right. As I explain in Courting Disaster, the interrogation of high-value terrorists is not just one additional source of intelligence; it is often the only tool we have to connect the dots and stop a terrorist attack. In the book, former CIA director Mike Hayden explains that intelligence is having to put together a puzzle without being allowed to see the picture on the cover of the box. You can’t see how the pieces are supposed to fit together. There are lots of ways to get more pieces. But the only way to find out how they fit together is to capture the senior leaders who know what the picture on the cover of the box looks like.

It doesn’t require Sherlock Holmes’ intuitive skills to know that gathering information on the terrorists’ support networks, operations and future terrorist attacks is important information. Larry Holmes could figure that out. Rather than doing everything we can to learn about the terrorists’ intentions, this administration insists on playing ostrich with regards to intelligence.

We know for certainty that having a robust interrogation operation during the Bush administration yielded lots of information that was used to thwart terrorist attacks, disrupt or throttle their financing networks and rolling up entire networks. Why this administration insists on dismantling terrorists a leader at a time rather than capturing and interrogating terrorists, then using that intel to roll up entire networks has me questioning their philosophy and their priorities.

The Bush administration’s policies undeniably kept us safe while preventing terrorist attacks. We hope that this administration will keep America safe but it’s far from certain that that’s what will happen.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Obama administration, in the person of John Brennan, has fought to defend itself for mirandizing Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, with Robert Gibbs and Attorney General Eric Holder playing supporting roles in that fight. Unfortunately for them, the adults have entered the room and the Obama administration looks in over its head…AGAIN.

Two serious adults, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and longtime National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor have weighed in. First, let’s look at what Gen. Mukasey said about mirandizing terrorists:

What to do and who should do it? It was entirely reasonable for the FBI to be contacted and for that agency to take him into custody. But contrary to what some in government have suggested, that Abdulmutallab was taken into custody by the FBI did not mean, legally or as a matter of policy, that he had to be treated as a criminal defendant at any point. Consider: In 1942, German saboteurs landed on Long Island and in Florida. That they were eventually captured by the FBI did not stop President Franklin Roosevelt from directing that they be treated as unlawful enemy combatants. They were ultimately tried before a military commission in Washington and executed. Their status had nothing to do with who held them, and their treatment was upheld in all respects by the Supreme Court.

If possible, FBI custody is even less relevant today in determining someone’s status. In 1942 the FBI was exclusively a crime-fighting organization. After Sept. 11, 2001, the agency’s mission was expanded beyond detection of crime and apprehension of criminals to include gathering intelligence, helping to prevent and combat threats to national security, and furthering U.S. foreign policy goals. Guidelines put in place in 2003 and revised in September 2008 “do not require that the FBI’s information gathering activities be differentially labeled as ‘criminal investigations,’ ‘national security investigations,’ or ‘foreign intelligence collections,’ or that the categories of FBI personnel who carry out investigations be segregated from each other based on the subject areas in which they operate. Rather, all of the FBI’s legal authorities are available for deployment in all cases to which they apply to protect the public from crimes and threats to the national security and to further the United States’ foreign intelligence objectives.”

Here’s what John Brennan said in defending the decision to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights:

Brennan also defended the decision to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights, something that Republicans have harshly criticized. Brennan said the decision to do so was “a long-standing FBI policy that was reaffirmed under Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s attorney general.”

The danger of quoting someone on policy is that an expert in the FBI’s interrogation policies has the ability to write an op-ed explaining what policy has historically been and what current policy is. Predictably, Gen. Mukasey did exactly that this morning. As the former Attorney General, he’s totally qualified to refute Mr. Brennan’s arguments. Mr. Brennan will have difficulty explaining away this statement:

Rather, all of the FBI’s legal authorities are available for deployment in all cases to which they apply to protect the public from crimes and threats to the national security and to further the United States’ foreign intelligence objectives.”

In other words, Sen. Kit Bond is right in saying that capturing a terrorist in U.S. territory doesn’t mean that the FBI, as a matter of routine, will read terrorists their Miranda rights. That’s certainly an option but it’s done on a case-by-case basis. It certainly isn’t automatic. At least it wasn’t during the Bush administration.

While John Brennan was the target of Gen. Mukasey’s op-ed, current Attorney Gen. Eric Holder is the target of Stuart Taylor’s scorn. Taylor’s column heaps scorn on Gen. Holder:

Reasonable people disagree about how much coercion interrogators should use to extract potentially lifesaving information from terrorists. (None at all, President Obama unwisely ordered soon after taking office.)

But no reasonable person could doubt that starting out with “you have the right to remain silent” is not the way to save lives.

Yet this is essentially the policy into which the Obama administration has locked itself by insisting that it did the right thing when it read Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas Day bomber, his Miranda rights after only 50 minutes of questioning and a hospital visit.

I return to this subject because the rationalizations by Attorney General Eric Holder and other administration apologists have been so breathtakingly bereft of seriousness about the need for aggressive interrogation to protect our country.

Abdulmutallab might have been the first of a dozen Christmas Day bombers seeking to perfect the Bojinka plot, for all Holder and his colleagues knew at the time. It was sheer luck that this was not the case.

And the decision to read Abdulmutallab his rights, bring him a lawyer, and stop asking questions may yet get Americans murdered by his co-conspirators in Yemen, who might have been located and captured or killed but for his five weeks of post-Miranda silence.

Anytime that a terrorist is captured, the first responsibility of any administration’s national security team is to thoroughly interrogate the terrorist and learn as much about the terrorist’s support system, the type of training he received, where he was trained, etc. This isn’t rocket science.

In the aftermath of the failed terrorist plot, Janet Napolitano admitted that she was surprised by how well organized al-Qaeda in Yemen was. Had the Obama administration actually interrogated Abdulmutallab, they might’ve learned more about AQY.

That Holder put a higher priority on preserving Abdulmutallab’s testimony than on gathering intelligence is stunning. Here’s why reading Abdulmutallab his rights wasn’t a priority:

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey told me in an interview that the CIA and national intelligence directors “and ultimately the president would have been in on the decision in addition to me”; and that “I like to think the default setting would have been toward gathering intelligence rather than worrying about whether a man who did his crime in front of 285 witnesses could be convicted without using his confession.”

With 285 eyewitnesses, along with his burns, the chances of conviction would’ve been close to 100 percent. The only way Abdulmutallab wouldn’t have gotten convicted was if the jury was made up of CAIR’s board of directors.

The need to mirandize Abdulmutallab wasn’t just insignificant. It wasn’t necessary. In fact, it was stupid to not collect important information in a timely fashion.

I don’t know whether Mssrs. Taylor and Mukasey worked in coordination in writing their articles. What I’m certain of is that they’ve highlighted the incompetence of Eric Holder and John Brennan for all the political world to see. Their expertise in constitutional and counterterrorism issues make it difficult for Robert Gibbs to question them, though I expect he’ll try criticizing them during today’s briefing.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative