On Sunday, the White House again went on the offensive, trying to redirect continuing fallout from its own disastrous mishandling of the Christmas Day panty bomber interrogations. This time, deputy national security advisor John Brennan was dispatched to NBC to blame Republicans, making new claims that senior members of Congress were briefed and they should have known that the terrorist would be Mirandized.
“On Christmas night, I called a number of senior members of Congress,” Brennan told Meet the Press host David Gregory. “I spoke to Senators McConnell and Bond, I spoke to Representative Boehner and Hoekstra. I explained to them that he was in FBI custody, that Mr. Abdulmutallab was, in fact, talking, that he was cooperating at that point. They knew that ‘in FBI custody’ means that there’s a process then you follow as far as Mirandizing and presenting him in front of a magistrate.”
“Brennan never told me of plans to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber — if he had, I would have told him the administration was making a mistake,” Sen. Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement. “The truth is that the administration did not even consult our intelligence chiefs, as [DNI 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.”
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, says he had a brief, non-secure conversation with Brennan during which Brennan informed him that Abdulmutallab was being treated for severe burns.
“Can anyone take seriously the White House’s assertion that it consulted with Republicans when President Obama didn’t even consult his own Director of National Intelligence, FBI Director or Homeland Security Secretary concerning Abdulmutallab?” Hoekstra said. “Anyone who knows my record and the leadership of Republicans on national security issues knows that we have not been shy about expressing our thoughts and strategies with the administration.”
Hoekstra says he was not informed that the terrorist had been Mirandized nor did Brennan seek consultation.
“The mishandling of this case is the Obama administration’s failure, and they have no one to blame but themselves,” Hoekstra continued. “President Obama failed to respond after the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, and failed to respond immediately after the terrorist attack in Detroit. Instead of lashing out politically and attempting to deflect blame, Obama and his advisers need to settle on a coherent and rational national security strategy to help secure our homeland.”
Hoekstra offered to consult with the Obama administration in the future on a list of intelligence failures that are of concern to him.
“I have focused squarely on protecting our nation and giving the intelligence community the tools, resources and authorities to prevent the next attack,” Hoekstra said. “If the Obama administration is serious about seeking Republican consultation, we would be happy to discuss our concerns about: 1) President Obama’s bungled attempt to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; 2) The risks of his strategy to ship jihadist terrorists off to al-Qaeda safe havens and to hold others in communities around America; 3) His failed attempt to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed an international platform to bash America by holding a civilian trial for him and his fellow conspirators in New York City, and 4) President Obama’s decision to target Americans for killing without due process while at the same time denouncing the Bush administration’s handling of foreign terrorists and investigating CIA officers for carrying-out presidentially authorized and congressionally supported aggressive counterterrorism efforts.”
The Obama administration believes Mirandizing terrorists supports counterterrorism efforts yet re-investigating CIA interrogators (who were years-ago cleared of any wrongdoing through non-political, career DOJ-led investigations) somehow keeps America safer.
Brennan had also claimed that the information that Abdulmutallab was cooperating and that his family had been brought here to convince him to do so had been accidentally released in a congressional hearing which – he argued – mooted any misfeasance in White House release of that information to the press.
But that release (and precisely what was said) is just another mistake by the Obama administration, compromising national security.
Blizzard Shuts Down Federal Government
The Office of Personnel Management has shut down the federal government today as Washington tries to dig itself out of the aftermath of a blizzard over the weekend. The House is at this time scheduled to return Tuesday afternoon and the Senate has moved votes from Monday to Tuesday.
The break from relentless global warming has resulted in freezing temperatures that have hindered the dig-out effort. A second, smaller snowstorm is forecast to hit Washington on Tuesday.