President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser on Sunday defended the administration's decision to try in federal court the man charged with attempting to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day and indicated that he would be offered a plea agreement to persuade him to reveal what he knows about al-Qaeda operations in Yemen.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with the failed attempt on the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, was initially "talking to people who detained him" but now has a public defender and "doesn't have to," John O. Brennan said on "Fox News Sunday."
"We have different ways of obtaining information from individuals" in the criminal-justice process, Brennan said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "A lot of people . . . understand what they're facing, and their lawyers recognize that there is advantage to talking to us in terms of plea agreements, [and] we're going to pursue that." Brennan told CNN's "State of the Union" that other terrorism suspects have "given us very valuable information as they've gone through the plea-agreement process."
Let me be fair and defend the admin just for a minute. We all know that Farouk isn't the big shot. We all know that there's more to this cell. We don't know just who other members of this cell know. If we offer him a plea deal, then, he may reveal some info, that will lead to a capture, and dominos will fall.
Let me attack the administration. If that's your goal, you should have immediately classified this guy as an ILLEGAL enemy combatant, interrogated him until he gave you everything you now want, and then tried him in military court and given him the death penalty.
This isn't merely semantics. Blowing up a plane with hundreds of passengers is no crime. It's an act of war. It's designed to stunt the economy, send the population into panic, and draw a response from our military. That's not merely a crime. That's an act of war. In war, going after military targets is legitimate. Going after civilians isn't. That's why the Nazi spies were dealt with so harshly. Farouk committed an act of war against civilians. He deserves and should get no rights. Giving him any rights would lump him in with murderers and we're talking about two different acts entirely.
The administration has done just that. By doing so, they've given Farouk the same rights as a murderer. We all know from cop shows how law enforcement holds its nose when giving some a deal to get another. I'm sure the Feds weren't keen to give Sammy the Bull a deal but they did it to get Gotti. No such process is necessary in war time. Yet, the administration has turned terrorism into a criminal matter and as such, they need to give our enemies in war deals, as though they're merely criminals.