The Administration Still Pushing Back
First it was Attorney General Eric Holder. Now it’s White House Counterterrorism Chief and Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan on NBC’s “Meet the Press”. Brennan said he briefed four Congressional Republicans:
“None of those individuals raised any concerns with me, at that point,” Brennan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They didn’t say, ‘Is he going into military custody? Is he going to be Mirandized?’ They were very appreciative of the information. We told them we’d keep them informed. And that’s what we did.”
We’re getting another piece to the puzzle in place. Here is what we now know.
As Holder said in his letter from last week:
“I made the decision to charge Mr. Abdulmutallab with federal crimes, and to seek his detention in connection with those charges, with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government. On the evening of December 25 and again on the morning of December 26, the FBI informed its partners in the Intelligence Community that Abdulmutallab would be charged criminally, and no agency objected to this course of action.”
But, neither Director of National Security Dennis Blair, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, nor FBI Director Robert Mueller were informed at that time. In fact, Mueller didn’t know for well over a month that his own boss, Holder, was the one who told Mueller’s FBI guys to read the Undiebomber his Miranda rights.
We now know that Brennan was told, and he told at least four Republican members of Congress. However, Brennan doesn’t seem to have told the other three individuals mentioned above either; there is also no mention of Brennan, or anyone else, talking to Congressional Democrats.
So the question remains, who else did Holder talk to about the Undiebomber, or did telling Brennan constitute the complete list of people of those “with the knowledge of, and with no objection from, all other relevant departments of the government”?
Brennan said he never mentioned telling the Republicans about the Undiebomber having had his Miranda rights read to him, and that none of the Republicans brought it up either. Making it appear that these Republicans should have figured that the Undiebomber’s rights were read to him as part of regular FBI procedure, Brennan sets up a straw man about all this “politicization” going on by Republicans [emphasis mine]:
“There’s been quite a bit of an outcry after the fact,” Brennan said. “I’m just very concerned, on behalf of counterterrorism professionals throughout our government, that politicians continue to make this a political football, and are using it for whatever political or partisan purposes. … I think those counterterrorism professionals deserve the support of our Congress. And rather than second-guessing what they’re doing on the ground, with a 500-mile screwdriver from Washington to Detroit, I think they have to have confidence in the knowledge and the experience of these counterterrorism professionals.”
That’s fine but completely besides the point. Brennan’s really reaching by trying to make it seem like the GOP knew which procedures the FBI was using while they were holding the Undiebomber and are now criticizing those actions after the fact. Besides, we now know that it wasn’t the counterterrorism professionals on the ground who decided to Mirandize the Undiebomber; Holder admitted that it was his decision to do so. Brennan should be called out for adding his own politicization of national security.
The POLITICO article cites the Congressional Republicans who were called, including a statement made by Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), which was also picked up by Byron York:
“Brennan never told me any of plans to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber — if he had, I would have told him the administration was making a mistake. The truth is that the administration did not even consult our intelligence chiefs, as [Director of National Intelligence Dennis] Blair testified, so it’s absurd to try to blame Congressional leaders for this dangerous decision that gave terrorists a five week head start to cover their tracks.”
As I mentioned here, Holder is acting like a loose cannon, seemingly running the show on the entire national security apparatus. Holder’s ludicrous national security decisions like the ones he’s made in regards to proscribing the CIA people who kept this country safe for eight years, having the 9/11 terrorists tried in the United States in the civilian federal courts, and now giving the Undiebomber rights he doesn’t have, make it seem like the federal government isn’t taking its primary responsibility, protecting the nation and its citizens from external enemies, very seriously. Putting Brennan out in front, someone whose responsibilities are nebulous at best, doesn’t change this, especially since Brennan decided to base his attacks at the Republicans on a straw man, something his boss, Obama, frequently invokes.
(Hat tip: Hot Air)