The White House attempt to gain the cooperation of suspect Umar Abdulmutallab by meeting with his family in Nigeria is nothing more than an attempt to cover up their disastrous mishandling and Mirandizing of Abdulmutallab, an alleged terrorist. Had the administration properly handled the case and treated Abdulmutallab as the enemy combatant that he is, there would be no need for agents to fly to Nigeria and beg his family to get him to give us information. We were the ones who told him he could remain silent in the first place!
Since actionable intelligence should have been our goal, Abdulmutallab should not have been given his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney. As a result of our gracious handling of the man who wanted to blow up a plane of passengers on the way to Detroit, we have shut down our ability to interrogate him thoroughly and to find out who his cohorts are, and where they operate. Anyone in law enforcement understands that there is no way to even establish a rapport, let alone get information, in 50 minutes.
The government’s response to criticism was that they got what they needed. But this is not about one criminal charge being proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s about garnering intelligence in a War on Terror where a network of individuals hate this country so much that they would blow themselves up just to kill us. We need to know who they are, and where they are.
Ironically, Obama administration officials say within the next few months another terrorist attempt is “certain.” And yet we scoot an alleged bomber through interrogation with more speed than investigators interviewing a robbery suspect. This naive approach to those who want to destroy us is further proof that we need to get these combatants out of our civilian justice system and into a military tribunal.
As a result of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Bush administration pushed for a law called the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This law established procedures governing the use of military commissions to try unlawful enemy combatants, such as those who were sent to Guantanamo Bay. These unlawful enemy combatants can be detained until the cessation of hostilities.
The recent granting of retroactive constitutional rights to these individuals, and the attempt to offer them the hospitality of being tried in civilian courts and in our cities, is a Pollyanna approach to the War on Terror. What's next -- a plea bargain?
Jeanine Pirro is the host of "Judge Jeanine Pirro" a fast-paced one-hour daily court TV show. She is the former District Attorney and County Court Judge of Westchester County, New York, a highly respected legal commentator and author.