“You’re asking us to find a needle in a haystack,” complained one Homeland Security type on TV. It is hard to know which one of 500,000 names on a “watch list” will be the one who makes a move to kill thousands of Americans.
The problem is not just what Dutch airport security failed to do in Amsterdam—that was bad enough. Obviously, we have not put the Netherlands on our list of suspect Al Qaeda-threatened countries. Nor have we put Britain on that list. Isn’t that where Richard Reid, the failed shoe bomber, hailed from?
What I’m most concerned about is what the Obama administration did after Abdulmutallab was collared in Detroit. Immediately, this non-U.S. citizen, this jihadist was given Miranda rights and treated as a common criminal. Back to the future, back to September 10th.
The administration’s counter-terrorism point man, John Brennan, was sent out to do the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows. This was the week after Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano tripped all over herself in saying “the system worked.” She had to spend last week trying to “walk back” those comments. Don’t try this through an airport security gate in Newark.
John Brennan is the administration’s designated hitter. He is the one who is supposed to reassure us all. Except Brennan doesn’t reassure anyone. Claiming to be non-political, not a Democrat or a Republican, he dumped all over the Bush administration’s record of rendition of Gitmo detainees to Saudi Arabia. From there, we now know, a number of them were released to go to Yemen. There, they have become leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Okay, this one Bush policy was wrong. We know that now. So is Brennan reassuring us that the Obama administration has learned its lesson and will not release any more Gitmo detainees? Not at all. “Bush did it, too” is all they can say. They are repeating the worst mistake of the Bush administration—without retaining the basic thrust of an administration that kept Americans safe for seven years.
Then there’s this: Brennan says that Abdulmutallab can be induced to talk by plea bargaining. So, if he’s charged with 288 counts of attempted murder, air piracy, arson, etc., we can offer him a reduced sentence?