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January 27, 2010

Gov. McDonnell's Soiled Thoughts on Intel & the Underwear Bomber
Posted by Adam Blickstein

The new governor from Virginia would make you think he was personally on hand for the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas Day bomber. From his rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address:

Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit.  This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence.

While McDonnell was celebrating the holidays in Virginia, Federal officials were busy gathering actionable intelligence from Adbulmutallab and helping protect the American people. As AG Eric Holder stated:

"This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads,” Mr. Holder said. “Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool — military or judicial — available to our government.”

But if McDonnell doesn't trust the Attorney General, he should trust the actions of the brave men and women on the front line of the war on terror that unequivocally demonstrate Abdulmutallab provided critical intelligence about the genesis of the plot and any future attacks:

Captured after a bomb hidden in his underwear ignited but failed to explode, Abdulmutallab spoke freely and provided valuable intelligence, officials said. Federal agents repeatedly interviewed him or heard him speak to others. But when they read him his legal rights nearly 10 hours after the incident, he went silent.

The Associated Press piece continually shows McDonnell was just plain wrong in tonight's speech:

Abdulmutallab's interview ended when the suspect was given medication and the investigators decided it would be better to let the effects of the drugs wear off before pressing him further.

He would not be questioned again for more than five hours. By that point, officials said, FBI bosses in Washington had decided a new interrogation team was needed. They made that move in case the lack of a Miranda warning or the suspect's medical condition at the time of the earlier conversations posed legal problems later on for prosecutors.

Even if Abdulmutallab's statements are ruled out as evidence, they still provided valuable intelligence for U.S. counterterrorism officials to pursue, officials said.

In the end, though, the "clean team" of interrogators did not prod more revelations from the suspect.

So the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab came only after they had gleaned important and valuable intelligence from him and issuing the Miranda did not in any way actually inhibit intelligence gathering according to officials. As Spencer Ackerman points out:

Collins said in a statement that the fact that the FBI read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights “likely foreclosed the collection of additional intelligence information.” But over the weekend, The Associated Press published the most comprehensive account to date of Abdulmutallab’s interrogation and found no evidence that Mirandization inhibited interrogators’ access to valuable information. FBI interrogators, to the contrary, read him his Miranda rights after they were satisfied that he had no further information about any further attacks.

Which from the AP article cited previously:

The suspect spoke openly, said one official, talking in detail about what he’d done and the planning that went into the attack. Other counterterrorism officials speaking on condition of anonymity said it was during this questioning that he admitted he had been trained and instructed in the plot by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

The interview lasted about 50 minutes. Before they began questioning Abdulmutallab, the FBI agents decided not to give him his Miranda warnings providing his right to remain silent.

So, as is the federal agent's prerogative in emergency situations, they didn't actually Mirandize Abdulmutallab unitl after they were satisfied and sufficiently determined they had gleaned all the important intelligence from him.

Despite this clear record, McDonnell would have you think that no intelligence was gathered, that the underwear bomber is hiding behind the constitution, and that the men and women on the front lines of the war on terror are either lying or can't do their job correctly. The bottom line is false and fearmongering rhetoric on issues he seems to know little about will do nothing to actually keep America safe.


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Great post .In their minds, the underwear bomber is clearly guilty , and so torture just allows us to skip over that stupid trial process.

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So, as is the federal agent's prerogative in emergency situations, they didn't actually Mirandize Abdulmutallab unitl after they were satisfied and sufficiently

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