Setting the Record Straight on the Christmas Day Attack
John Brennan, who serves as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, took to the pages of USA Today this morning to clear up some falsehoods being spread by those seeking to get political advantage out of this national security matter:
Politics should never get in the way of national security. But too many in Washington are now misrepresenting the facts to score political points, instead of coming together to keep us safe.
Immediately after the failed Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated and provided important information. Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.
The most important breakthrough occurred after Abdulmutallab was read his rights, which the FBI made standard policy under Michael Mukasey, President Bush's attorney general. The critics who want the FBI to ignore this long-established practice also ignore the lessons we have learned in waging this war: Terrorists such as Jose Padilla and Saleh al-Mari did not cooperate when transferred to military custody, which can harden one's determination to resist cooperation.