Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Someone Should Tell Congress There's a War on: President Obama, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

I'm not on the same page with President Obama on many issues. Including the matter of putting terror suspects in the civilian court system: like the young man who almost certainly tried to bring down an airliner on Christmas weekend last year.

But, like 'zero tolerance,' it looks like one size does not fit all in this case.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been read his rights, and he's cooperating. Big time.

That's the good news.

The bad news? Congress can't keep its collective mouth shut.

Hello? Congress? There's a War On

I suppose the American congress can't be blamed for being a bit confused. The current administration has been sending some - interesting - signals about whether or not the war on terror is still on. (March 30, 2009)

Still, you'd think that members of Congress would have their aides read a newspaper to them once in a while. It's fairly obvious that the Taliban, Al Qaeda and like-minded outfits haven't changed their minds about taking down the West. And any Muslims that aren't sufficiently 'Islamic' by the terrorists' standards.

Somebody Talked

One thing about gathering intelligence during a war: It's important to not let the enemy know what - and how much - you know.

Again, someone really should tell Congress.

The current administration had been keeping how much they were learning from the would-be Christmas terrorist under wraps. Then, Congress did it's usual work: asked questions, got answers, and leaked the results.

I understand that there needs to be something like Congress, to keep an eye on other parts of the federal government. It's that checks and balances thing. (November 20, 2008)

I just wish that we had a bunch that's more reliable than what we have.

I also hope that what was learned from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab could be used fast, because now that Congress tipped off the world that he's been talking: terrorists will be moving people and equipment, and making any other changes they need to, to protect themselves.

Like I said, there's a war on.

Here's an excerpt from what got me started on this little rant:
"Airline Terror Suspect Provides Key Intelligence"
The Associated Press, via FOXNews (February 02, 2010)

"The Nigerian man accused of trying to use a bomb hidden in his underwear to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas has been cooperating with investigators since last week and has provided fresh intelligence in multiple terrorism investigations, officials said Tuesday.

"Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's cooperation could prove to be a national security victory and a political vindication for President Obama, who has been under fire from lawmakers who contend the administration botched the case by giving Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, rather than interrogating him as a military prisoner...."

"...In the days following the failed bombing, a pair of FBI agents flew to Nigeria and persuaded Abdulmutallab's family to help them. When the agents returned to the U.S., Abdulmutallab's family came, too, according to a senior administration official briefed on the case. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case...."

"...Authorities had hoped to keep Abdulmutallab's cooperation secret while they continued to investigate his leads, but details began to trickle out during testimony on Capitol Hill, where FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair confirmed authorities continued to get intelligence in Abdulmutallab's case...."

"...Also unsettled is which system is better for gathering intelligence. The Bush administration, which authorized secret CIA prisons for interrogations, also repeatedly used the U.S. court system to prosecute terrorists. Some detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have provided valuable intelligence, while others have refused to cooperate.

"Some suspects in the criminal system refuse to talk once they have a lawyer. Others, like Abdulmutallab, can be persuaded to keep talking...."
In this case, it looks like the current administration made the right call in putting the Christmas suspect into the civilian court system.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes Congress gets in the way.

Related posts:In the news:


Brigid said...

The friendly neighborhood proofreader is a little confused by this sentence: "The current administration had been keeping how much they were learning from the would-be Christmas terrorist."

Brian H. Gill said...


If I hadn't written that, and known what I meant: I'd be confused, too.

And, it might be argued that I still am - but that, as I am fond of saying, is another topic.

I'll sort that out in a minute.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.