If you are one of the millions of Americans who recently canceled your subscription to the New York Times, you may not know that we are in the middle of a civil-liberties emergency. Apparently, in the weeks following the terrorist attack of 9-11, the FBI rounded up a lot of Muslim men who were in this country illegally. Not only that, but some were actually questioned.
These, my friends, were only some of the atrocities detailed in a "frank and blistering" report plastered all over the New York Times a few weeks ago. The report, released by the inspector general of the Department of Justice, was showcased on the front page of the Times; it was excerpted in the national section; and it was the subject of the lead editorial that day, somberly titled "The Abusive Detentions of Sept. 11."
The laboriously assembled report includes such shocking revelations as these:
In other words, under Attorney General John Ashcroft, the FBI, the INS and the Department of Justice are so out of control that they have actually begun to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
Also according to the report, guards at a Brooklyn detention facility – weeks after the attack and within sight of ground zero – subjected illegal immigrant Muslim detainees to "physical and verbal abuse." As the Times described it, "Detainees reported being slammed against the wall, or being subjected to such verbal taunts as 'You're going to die here.'" To quote Tony Soprano: You don't say.
Does anyone at the Times even know any normal people?
The detainees are in this country illegally, their co-religionists had just slaughtered thousands of Americans, and the Times is dismayed, perplexed, angry and shocked that some of them may have been subjected to the sort of manhandling that occurs in the hallways of middle schools throughout the nation. Why, I'm subjected to physical and verbal abuse every time I go through an airport security check, and I'm a citizen.
After a bit of overheated fulminating, the Times editorial unleashed this whopper: "The inspector general's findings are particularly powerful because they come not from politicians or advocacy groups, but from a unit of the Bush administration itself." This is how the New York Times always prefaces its outrageous statements: "it is widely understood that ..."; "all learned men agree ..."; "all people of good will believe ..."
Not so fast. The report came from Inspector General Glenn Fine – a lingering, festering Clinton appointee.
As a rule of thumb, all career government bureaucrats are liberal Democrats. (Children in Republican families do not grow up yearning to work for the government someday.) Republican presidents come in, make a handful of appointments to each department, and then the career bureaucrats go about gleefully denouncing the Republicans while allowing themselves to described in the New York Times as "internal" whistleblowers.
This leads to a somewhat inconsistent pattern of "internal" reports. After Janet Reno gassed American citizens in Waco, Texas, leaving 80 dead, the Justice Department's internal report "found no mistakes by anybody at the Justice Department or the FBI," in the words of Newsweek magazine. Also, one searches Lexis-Nexis in vain for any mention of an internal report on Janet Reno's commando raid against a small Cuban boy in Miami whose mother died bringing him to freedom.
But when Clinton-appointee Fine discovered that, immediately after the 9-11 attack, Bush administration officials failed to inform the Muslim detainees "in a timely manner about the process for filing complaints about their treatment" – he produces an indignant report. (The guards should have told Fine that the illegal immigrants were liars, bimbos, "stalkers" or just wanted a book deal.)
Accustomed to the high ethical standards of the Clinton administration, one can certainly understand Fine's outrage upon learning that guards overseeing Muslim illegal aliens after 9-11 imposed "restrictive and inconsistent policies on telephone access for detainees." Indeed, there are unconfirmed reports that several illegal detainees were prevented from using the phone to cast their votes on "American Idol." So, it was pretty much like a week in Uday and Qusay's torture rooms.
"Instead of taking a few days as anticipated," the report says, "the clearance process took an average of 80 days, primarily because it was understaffed and not given sufficient priority by the FBI." That is pretty shocking when you consider how much time the FBI must have had on their hands immediately after 9-11. Some detainees were held so long that they had to drop out of U.S. flight schools altogether. FBI officials' explanation was that they were engaged in some mysterious project known only as "preventing the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil."
In a remark worthy of Inspector Clouseau, Fine's report says: "Department officials acknowledged to the inspector general's office that they realized soon after the roundups began 'that many in the group of Sept. 11 detainees were not connected to the attacks or terrorism.'" Indeed, the Clinton appointee's report repeatedly takes the FBI to task for failing to "distinguish" between illegal immigrants and terrorists. Wow. What a great idea. If the FBI would simply "distinguish" between the terrorists and everyone else, then they could just arrest all the terrorists! Why didn't anyone else think of that?
Remember this report by Clinton-appointee Glenn Fine the next time a liberal tells you a Democrat president would have done as good a job as Bush in fighting the war on terrorism.