This is almost too stupid for words, but I believe it needs to be addressed.
Via Irrational Spew Online, Byron York over at The Washington Examiner sayeth the following (here, in the matter of whether or not reading the Miranda rights to the Christmas pants bomber supposedly caused him to go quiet, which John Podesta recently commented on here)…
…(Obama) and his administration are still trying to justify their actions in the Detroit case. “They’re changing their story constantly to try to defend their tactics,” says a knowledgeable source on Capitol Hill.
For example, we know that the FBI interrogated Abdulmutallab for just 50 minutes before Attorney General Eric Holder decided to advise the suspect of his Miranda rights to remain silent and to have a court-appointed attorney. After that, Abdulmutallab shut up.
Republicans hit the administration hard on that point, especially when the White House made the unbelievable claim that agents had gotten every last bit of valuable information from Abdulmutallab in that brief talk. In response to GOP criticism, administration officials leaked the story that Abdulmutallab actually stopped talking before being read his Miranda rights, meaning Holder’s decision was not to blame for cutting off the brief flow of intelligence.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, say knowledgeable sources on Capitol Hill. “It is totally false that he had stopped cooperating and then they made the decision to Mirandize him,” says one GOP source. “They made the decision, and then they weren’t trying to question him any more.”
(By the way, one would assume this is a news report from the way it’s structured, but it’s actually editorial commentary, and it should be labeled as such.)
In response, John Brennan, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the following here…
The Republicans have been trying to score political points on “terrorism” by, among other things, suggesting that the FBI, which has obtained information from the Christmas bomber without torture, should not have been allowed to question him.
Brennan calls them out:
Politics should never get in the way of national security. But too many in Washington are now misrepresenting the facts to score political points, instead of coming together to keep us safe.
Immediately after the failed Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated and provided important information. Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.
And York actually mentions Brennan in his column, but check out how York spins what Brennan has to say…
Brennan said he called four top GOP lawmakers — Sens. Mitch McConnell and Christopher Bond and Reps. John Boehner and Peter Hoekstra — on Christmas night, just hours after Abdulmutallab tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Brennan said he told the Republicans that the FBI had a suspect in custody; from that, Brennan claimed, the lawmakers should have inferred that Abdulmutallab would be read his Miranda rights.
“None of those individuals raised any concerns with me at that point,” Brennan said. “They didn’t say, ‘Is he going into military custody? Is he going to be Mirandized?'”
Within hours of Brennan’s TV appearance, all four GOP lawmakers denied the story. “Brennan never told me of any plans to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber,” said Bond. “It never came up,” said Hoekstra. Spokesman for McConnell and Boehner denied it, too.
GOP lawmakers don’t expect to hear that charge again.
Well, of course they’re not going to “hear the charge” if they don’t even bother to ask the question about it, are they?
I would tend to agree with the analysis of Matt Yglesias on this, who said the following from here…
The underlying issue here, as I’ve been saying, is that conservatives think that any constraint on the state security apparatus is too much. They believe, contrary to all of the evidence, that the rule-bound criminal justice system can’t or doesn’t function and that things would be better if we scrapped all the rules. And, indeed, in the civilian context they’ve worked steadily and systematically over a period of decades to weaken the constitutional protections as much as possible, and bring us as close as possible to their dream scenario of limitless state-sponsored violence. The desire to push certain categories of people (non-citizens) or certain categories of suspects (terrorists) out of the constitutionally protected realm is just part-and-parcel of that broad-based assault on the idea of a rule-bound justice system.
And leave it to Holy Joe Lieberman and three of his Repug pals in the Senate who, as noted here…
…are pushing legislation that would require civilian authorities to consult with intelligence leaders when taking an accused terrorist into custody.
“[This] legislation would not deprive the President of any investigative tool,” Sen. Lieberman’s Web site claims. “It would not preclude a decision to charge a foreign terrorist in our military tribunal system or in our civilian criminal justice system.”
In a response, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, fired back: “It is extremely disturbing that members of the U.S. Congress are essentially calling for Obama administration officials to discard the Constitution when a terrorist suspect is apprehended – as if the Constitution should be applied on a case by case basis.”
And as noted here, as long as York and his ideological pals are so upset by our intelligence officials adhering to the rule of law, they should be reminded that Obama’s predecessor also “Mirandized” terrorism suspects also.
But of course, we know this doesn’t comport with the wingnut worldview, if for no other reason than because it never worked for Jack Bauer on “24,” as we know.
Update 2/12/10: More from mcjoan of The Daily Kos here…