Gosh darn, I feel great to live in a country that gives full
constitutional rights to a foreign national who, on a flight from
Amsterdam to Detroit, was tackled by passengers and crew as he
reportedly was trying to blow up the plane.
If a terrorist fails to blow up a plane, he should get a court-appointed
attorney. My big concern is that if Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab keeps
telling the FBI there are others like him in Yemen, he may not get a
After all, if U.S. authorities treated such a man as an enemy if they
interrogated him to glean information that could stop other planned
attacks, as promised by the leader of al-Qaida in Yemen then that
would make Americans just like the terrorists.
Like Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., I support the Retroactive Immunity
Repeal Act, which would make it possible for political activists to sue
telephone companies that cooperated with national intelligence officials
under the Terrorist Surveillance Program. They must be made an example.
As Dodd said, "We make our nation safer when we eliminate the false
choice between liberty and security." President Obama framed that notion
a different way when he spoke in April of "the false choice between our
security and our ideals." Because if we have to choose between security
and our ideals, after another big attack, our ideals will crumble.
Rand terrorism expert Brian Jenkins told a Senate committee in November
that U.S. authorities foiled eight domestic terrorist attacks in 2009,
while failing to stop shootings against military personnel in Arkansas
and Fort Hood, Texas. But that's no reason for Obama to pull back on his
promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay and repatriate more detainees
True, the Defense Intelligence Agency figured in April that one out of
seven released Gitmo detainees were "confirmed or suspected of
re-engaging in terrorist activities." Stuff happens. If newly freed
detainees end up in an al-Qaida training camp, well, that's the cost of
making America look nicer.
When Obama said Monday that the American people "should remain
vigilant," I had to wonder: Is he turning into George W. Bush? If you
ask me, it's that attitude that sparks terrorism abroad.
That's why Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stopped using
the phrase "war on terror." To stop terrorist attacks.
It didn't take long for Napolitano to retract her Sunday statement to
CNN that "the system worked." As she said, the remark was "taken out of
And you can't blame her for telling CNN political correspondent Candy
Crowley it would be "inappropriate to speculate as to whether"
Abdulmutallab had ties to al-Qaida. Remember that after Maj. Nidal Malik
Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, some pundits were
happy to blame not Islamic extremism but war-related post-traumatic
stress disorder even though Hasan had never served in Iraq or
When Bush was in office, we hammered him on his failure to grant U.S.
civil liberties to foreign terrorists. Now we're stuck with our 2004 and
2008 campaign rhetoric. You see, the system does work. Until it doesn't.