Commentary Magazine


Topic: unnamed Obama official

Lawyerly Responses to Intelligence Malpractice

Republicans are forcefully challenging the decision to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant. The Washington Post — as if on cue, referring to him as the man who “allegedly” tried to kill nearly 300 people on Christmas day — quotes an unnamed Obama official’s retort: ”The bottom line is, you’ve had 100 people convicted in federal court over the past nine years for terrorism offenses and three from a military commission.” This is disingenuous in the extreme and proves the Obama critics’ point.

First, we have had a slow down and halt in military commissions in no small part because the Obama team put a halt to them. Second, does anyone really think that military commissions, once fully employed, would get worse results that a civilian trial? (This smacks of Eric Holder’s argument that snatching KSM from a military tribunal — where he had plead guilty and was to be executed — is the best way to assure a conviction.) And third, and most important, this is the sign of obsession with the criminal justice model. Their main “defense” to the question as to why we aren’t getting every scrap of intelligence information from the would-be bomber is to tell us that he’s sure to be convicted. Not the point. We know they will get “convicted” — what we want is intelligence to assist in the war we are fighting.

This and many other statements by the Obami do show just how obsessed they are with prosecution of individuals on a case-by-case basis rather than insurance gathering, which might provide some more “dots” or help connect those we already have. It is what comes from installing the lefty lawyers in the Justice Department as the arbiters of  our nation’s policies on handling of terrorists. We get lawyerly responses. And Abdulmutallab now sits mutely.

Republicans are forcefully challenging the decision to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant. The Washington Post — as if on cue, referring to him as the man who “allegedly” tried to kill nearly 300 people on Christmas day — quotes an unnamed Obama official’s retort: ”The bottom line is, you’ve had 100 people convicted in federal court over the past nine years for terrorism offenses and three from a military commission.” This is disingenuous in the extreme and proves the Obama critics’ point.

First, we have had a slow down and halt in military commissions in no small part because the Obama team put a halt to them. Second, does anyone really think that military commissions, once fully employed, would get worse results that a civilian trial? (This smacks of Eric Holder’s argument that snatching KSM from a military tribunal — where he had plead guilty and was to be executed — is the best way to assure a conviction.) And third, and most important, this is the sign of obsession with the criminal justice model. Their main “defense” to the question as to why we aren’t getting every scrap of intelligence information from the would-be bomber is to tell us that he’s sure to be convicted. Not the point. We know they will get “convicted” — what we want is intelligence to assist in the war we are fighting.

This and many other statements by the Obami do show just how obsessed they are with prosecution of individuals on a case-by-case basis rather than insurance gathering, which might provide some more “dots” or help connect those we already have. It is what comes from installing the lefty lawyers in the Justice Department as the arbiters of  our nation’s policies on handling of terrorists. We get lawyerly responses. And Abdulmutallab now sits mutely.

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