Leaving aside the failings of the CIA, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security, some of this is entirely President Obama's fault. He has guaranteed that we will get far less intelligence from this terrorist than we would have under the Bush administration. Because the highly successful Clinton law enforcement model has been reintroduced to the war on terror, no sooner was the fire in Abdulmutallab's pants out than he was read his Miranda rights and provided with a taxpayer-financed public defender.
Under the terrible ancien regime, when the world hated us, and the terrorists were inspired to attack us because Guantanamo was not listed in Fodor's Guide (except, gosh, they seem not to have gotten the memo because they persist in attacking), Abdulmutallab would have been hustled down to Guantanamo to be interrogated. Yes, interrogated. Not tortured. Not waterboarded (that happened to only three detainees) but interrogated about his contacts, his experiences in Yemen, his explosives training, and so forth. If he wanted better treatment -- dessert, videos, music -- he could purchase these with cooperation.
Not now. His lawyer, Miriam Siefer (who has represented terrorists before), will advise him to stay silent. We will learn nothing of other plots Abdulmutallab might have provided leads to, and nothing of the whereabouts of his supposed mentor, American-born Yemen resident Anwar al-Awlaki -- the imam who also incited the Fort Hood killer, had contact with two of the Sept. 11 terrorists, and who has been described by Al-Arabiya as "the bin Laden of the Internet."
Speaking of Yemen, in the mad scramble to close Guantanamo by Obama's self-imposed deadline, just this month the administration released six detainees to ... Yemen, with the promise of 34 more to come. Well, didn't the Bush administration release two Yemenis to Saudi Arabia who later moved to Yemen and continued jihad? Answer: Yes. Here's another question: Why didn't the Obama administration study that failure?
And here's one more question: How does an over-grand, overreaching would-be messiah learn the humility to at least put first things first?