June 10, 2009

"You Have the Right to Keep Your Terrorist Secrets Safe..."

Hatched by Dafydd

I don't know how much to believe this Weekly Standard story by Stephen F. Hayes -- I enjoyed his book the Connection, but I'm not sure how careful he is with the facts -- but he claims that the Barack H. Obama administration has actually begun instructing FBI agents that they must begin Mirandizing terrorists captured on the battlefield:

"I believe none of these [intelligence] successes would have happened if we had had to treat KSM like a white-collar criminal – read him his Miranda rights and get him a lawyer who surely would have insisted that his client simply shut up,” Tenet wrote in his memoirs.

If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

If this is true -- and I'm not yet sure it is -- the consequences would be dire. I joked about this earlier, saying that if we were to accept that all terrorist detainees should be treated as civilian criminal defendants, then we would have to let them all go... as none was read his Miranda rights; none was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by an American court; none was allowed to have his "attorney" (or minder) present during his interrogation; and in fact, soldiers don't even have legal grounds to enter mosques or safehouses or caves in the first place, since no American judge issued them search warrants. Let freedom ring! Release all the terrorists immediately on grounds that their constitutional rights were violated!

And if, after releasing all terrorists captured on George W. Bush's watch -- see how incompetent and irresponsible Bush was? He didn't even properly arrest Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah -- we are to begin informing future captures that they have the right to remain silent and lawyer-up, does anybody believe we will ever again get any significant, valuable intel out of them?

As Tenet noted, would KSM have talked if we'd told him he didn't have to, that he could demand the interrogation cease any time he wanted, and that his terrorist attorney of choice had to be present during any interrogation that did continue? It's absolute madness... if true.

The tip comes from Rep. Mike J. Rogers (R-MI, 84%) -- and a perfect example of Hayes' sloppiness is that he doesn't identify whether he means that Mike Rogers (which he does) or Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-AL, 50%); I had to figure it out myself by Hayes' statement that the Mike Rogers he means is the one on the House Intelligence Committee.

I do believe Hayes is telling the truth that Rogers said what Hayes claims he said; but I'm not sure how thoroughly Hayes vetted Rogers' claim. I worry that since Rogers' accusation agrees so completely with Hayes' take on the administraiton, that the latter simply accepted it as "solid evidence," on the well-known logical principle that "It must be true, because it would be so wonderful for my argument if it were true."

That said, a claim of ideology-driven intelligence frivolity by this administration, made by a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence -- especially as Rogers is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism/HUMINT, Analysis and Counterintelligence and a former FBI Special Agent as well -- is serious enough to warrant investigation: Did President Obama actually order high-level detainees to be Mirandized on the battlefield (or elsewhere, but still before they can be interrogated)? Or is it possible that the Mirandizing only applies to lower-tier terrorists who are not thought to have significant intelligence, and who are intended all along simply to be prosecuted in civilian courts?

Before flying off all four handles, I want to see better verification of this story, along with more details about which and what kind of terrorist captures it applies to, and whether the president can override the policy in important cases.

But unless Rogers has simply fabricated this charge out of whole cloth (unlikely), even if we're now applying American constitutional rights only to low-tier, foreign national terrorists captured in a foreign country by our military, it would still severely undermine our legal position anent top-tier terrorists as well: A court could easily conclude that if the Executive agrees Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and protections apply to Osama bin Laden's chauffeur, then what is the legal argument why they wouldn't apply equally to bin Laden himself?

It's time for someone with a bit more credibility than Stephen Hayes to seriously dig into the Rogers claim; if accurate, this is the most dire Obamic threat to intelligence gathering yet unveiled as part of the One's almost pathological need to throw a stumbling wrench into the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 10, 2009, at the time of 1:24 PM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: Necromancer

Dafydd there is an article on Jim Hoft's site at Gateway Pundit on just this. Check it out as there are probably plenty more sites that are carrying the story.
"Semper Fi"

The above hissed in response by: Necromancer [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2009 2:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: BlueNight

It's potentially even scarier than that. If federal police jurisdiction, with the consequent right to detain, try, convict, and imprison foreign nationals all apply on foreign soil, then President Barack Obama is effectively in charge of a world empire.

Is this impeachable?

The above hissed in response by: BlueNight [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2009 9:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

I'm waiting for the first time one of those prisoners, in front of a court, tries to claim that the results of his interrogation shouldn't be permitted because he didn't understand the Miranda rights reading, since it was in English and he doesn't speak English.

At which point someone will have to translate it into Arabic, and into Urdu, and into Farsi, and into...

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 12, 2009 11:49 PM

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