John Bolton

John Bolton

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Christmas Day Bomber Only Talked to FBI for 50 Minutes!

Don't tell me we learned all he knew about the plotters in Yemen in one sitting!

In August of last year, the Washington Post ran a fascinating article titled "How a Detainee Became An Asset: Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding." The article describes the lengthy process that CIA agents went through to extract the intelligence from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that was vital to stopping future plots and rounding up Al Queda terrorists. Former CIA Director George Tenet declared that this program saved countless lives and was "worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together."

One of the first things President Obama did when he took office was to disband the CIA unit that has such great success. Instead, when the Christmas bomber was taken into custody after his plot to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 over Detroit, he talked to local FBI agents, not terrorism experts, for only 50 minutes.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs Sunday defended the decision to read so-called alleged underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights after 50 minutes of interrogation, saying that ”FBI interrogators believe they got valuable intelligence and were able to get all that they could out of him.”
“That decision was made by the Justice Department and the FBI by experienced FBI interrogators, Gibbs said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But make no mistake Abdulmutallab was interrogated and valuable information was gotten by those experienced interrogators.”

After he was read his rights, Abdulmutallab stopped cooperating with investigators.

“The Department of Justice made the right decision, as did those FBI agents,” Gibbs said.
It took weeks, even months, of interrogation to check and cross check the information provided by high level detainees like KSM. CIA interrogators were able to go back to KSM repeatedly as they put together the pieces of the puzzle. But local FBI agents stopped interrogating Abdulmutallab after one brief session?

Other news reports describe how Abdulmutallab talked for hours.... to ambulance drivers, doctors and just about anyone but intelligence officials who would have known the right questions to ask.

From hearings last week on Capitol Hill we learn that the interrogations of the Nigerian terrorist were mainly focused on law enforcement matters related to criminal prosecution, not on the intelligence necessary to prevent future attacks.

Once again, I cite the words of former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the Blind Sheikh for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy describes what the Obama Administration missed in their rush to confer U.S. constitutional protections on Abdulmutallab:

Lots of things: gathering intelligence, for one. We have now had confirmed — by President Obama himself, along with top White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan — that, while Janet Napolitano’s system was working so well, Abdulmutallab was an untapped well of operational intelligence.

He’d been training with al-Qaeda for weeks in Yemen, now one of the hottest hubs of terror plotting. He was undoubtedly in a position to identify who had recruited him, who had dispatched him on his mission, and who had trained him in fashioning and detonating chemical explosives. He was in a position to tell us what al-Qaeda knows, that Janet Napolitano apparently doesn’t, about our porous airline-security system. He was, moreover, almost certainly in a position to pinpoint paramilitary training facilities, to tell us about other al-Qaeda trainees being taught to do what he was trying to do, and to fill many gaps in our knowledge of the terror network’s hierarchy, routines, and governmental connections in Yemen.

That was not to be. The Obama administration decided that forging ahead pell-mell with a criminal prosecution was more important than acquiring every morsel of useful information Abdulmutallab has to give.
With terrorist incidents rising in the United States in Obama's first year in office to a post September 11th high, it's only a matter of time before we are hit again. And with the Keystone Kops in charge in Washington, we may not be so lucky next time.

Did Obama put former ACORN stooges in charge of Homeland Security?

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