Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abdulmutallab, not the first time Intelligence officials were not consulted

In a blog-post entitled, 'Not an Onion Headline', The Weekly Standard on Thursday published a press release from Senators Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman with the following header: "Senators introduce bill to require Intelligence officials be consulted about arrested foreign terrorists." [Sure sounds like an Onion headline to me!]:
Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced legislation Thursday to require that U.S. intelligence officials be consulted following a foreign terrorist’s detention by the United States.

The legislation would address a serious error that occurred in the handling of the so-called Christmas Day terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged in civilian criminal court.

At a Homeland Security Committee meeting Wednesday, Senator Collins learned during her questioning of witnesses that none of the three top U.S. intelligence officials had been consulted about that important decision. The determination to place Abdulmutallab into the U.S. civilian court system was made without their input or knowledge.

Senator Collins said this mistake “may have prevented the collection of valuable intelligence about future terrorist threats to the United States..."

The Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Secretary of Homeland Security "were never consulted by the Department of Justice. The decision was made without them,” Collins said...
For the record, it should be noted that this is not the first time the White House has refused to consult with Homeland Security about decisions pertaining to terrorist detainees and US security.

As the Weekly Standard pointed out last month, the Justice Dept. never bothered to consult with Janet Napolitano about security issues that would arise with the transferring of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his terrorist cohorts to the U.S.:
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison found out when questioning Napolitano this morning before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Holder didn't even run this by the administration's top Homeland Security official:
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: Were you consulted about the security issues that would surround such a trial before the Attorney General made that decision...?

Sec. Napolitano: I was not, not in the sense of being consulted as to whether security concerns would preclude the ability to try them in New York...
The Weekly Standard concludes in the aforementioned post: "This only further confirms what many have suspected: that left-wing ideologues at the Department of Justice -- not national security professionals -- are making the decisions on detainees. And what are the priorities of these lawyers? Before joining the Obama administration, many of them were defending these same terrorists from government prosecution..."

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