ACLU-Think Applied to Terrorists


ACRU Staff


February 5, 2010

This morning, in hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee, several Administration leaders defended the idea of giving the would-be Christmas bomber the same rights as ordinary Americans in a criminal trial. This thinking, which mirrors the ideas of the ACLU, offers several ways that tens of thousands of Americans may get killed in future terrorist attacks.

Some of the facts for this article, but none of the legal conclusions, come from an article on on 3 February, 2010. The heads of services who testified as a panel before the Senate Intelligence Committee were led by Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA.

On the day of the failed attack, the FBI questioned the suspect for “fifty minutes” until “the suspect had surgery for leg burns.” FBI Director Robert Mueller claimed that the suspect “stopped talking” after the surgery so his agents “gave him his Miranda rights.” That meant he was assigned a lawyer, whose first advice was for him to clam up, which he did.

The Administration is now crowing that the suspect is “talking again” after FBI agents went to Nairobi and “talked to his family.” The idea that this is a substitute for competent interrogation from the beginning is absurd. The number of terrorists who have honorable families who will get them to come clean in order to spare their lives can probably be counted on the thumbs of one hand.

However, the most absurd comment in the hearing, in answer to a question from a Democrat member of the Committee, was this:

Q. Why did you Mirandize the suspect?

A. Because we wanted his testimony to be admissible in a later, criminal court case against the suspect.

I did not have my TiVo running when this exchange took place, so I cannot cite the precise Administration official who said this. Ultimately, this legal policy was probably set by Attorney General Eric Holder, since his office oversees legal policy for all parts of the Administration, and directly oversees the FBI.

Turning terrorists in war into ordinary criminals is a stated purpose of the ACLU. That thinking now permeates the Obama Administration. It puts at risk American military and civilians, at home and abroad, because of intelligence not obtained in the investigation, and in intelligence betrayed and charges dropped in the subsequent circus trials.

In simple terms, it means the policy of this Administration is, “we will make a fatal mistake now, to prepare for another fatal mistake in a few months.”

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