POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan calls out Republican fear-mongers … it’s about time!

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 11, 2010

John Brennan

John Brennan wrote in USA Today (2-10-10) …

John Brennan is Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

  • Politics should never get in the way of national security. But too many in Washington are now misrepresenting the facts to score political points, instead of coming together to keep us safe.
  • Immediately after the failed Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated and provided important information. Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.
  • The most important breakthrough occurred after Abdulmutallab was read his rights, a long-standing FBI policy that was reaffirmed under Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s attorney general. The critics who want the FBI to ignore this long-established practice also ignore the lessons we have learned in waging this war: Terrorists such as Jose Padilla and Saleh al-Mari did not cooperate when transferred to military custody, which can harden one’s determination to resist cooperation.
  • It’s naive to think that transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody would have caused an outpouring of information. There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical.
  • Would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid was read his Miranda rights five minutes after being taken off a plane he tried to blow up. The same people who criticize the president today were silent back then.
  • Cries to try terrorists only in military courts lack foundation. There have been three convictions of terrorists in the military tribunal system since 9/11, and hundreds in the criminal justice system — including high-profile terrorists such as Reid and 9/11 plotter Zacarius Moussaoui.
  • This administration’s efforts have disrupted dozens of terrorist plots against the homeland and been responsible for killing and capturing hundreds of hard-core terrorists, including senior leaders in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond — far more than in 2008. We need no lectures about the fact that this nation is at war.
  • Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.
  • Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill. They will, however, be dismantled and destroyed, by our military, our intelligence services and our law enforcement community. And the notion that America’s counterterrorism professionals and America’s system of justice are unable to handle these murderous miscreants is absurd.



Republican reaction to John Brennan‘s USA Today op-ed has been fierce and predictable. First, there was Kit Bond’s reaction on The Daily Rundown (he had called for Brennan’s resignation) and then Rep. Pete King called Brennan an “egomaniac” who’s not being “honest” and “forthright” — among other things.




It’s about time. Health Secretary Sibelius and now John Brennan have (finally) begun what I hope is a broad-based pushback at Republican hypocrisy and lies. Now if only the weak-willed wimps in the Congress can get on the same message, maybe something can get done in this country.

The Republican reaction to Brennan’s statement has been to call him names, but not to factually repute anything he said. That’s the Republican playbook, and it’s time Democrats called it for what it is … unpatriotic and unproductive.


see Lew Weinstein’s CASE CLOSED blog at …


for a vibrant discussion of the FBI’s failure to solve the 2001 anthrax murders

read Lew’s novel CASE CLOSED

for one fictional scenario as to why the FBI failed to solve the case

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *


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