FBI Director Mueller Thinks You Can Get Good Intel From the Criminal Justice System
Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, may think the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab went haywire when the would-be bomber was Mirandized instead of being subject to the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group. But FBI Director Robert Mueller had a different take about the value of intelligence collected within the criminal justice system. In a hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who’s also on the intelligence committee, had the following colloquy with Mueller:
OK, thank you.
Director Mueller, we’ve heard criticism this morning for the decision to try Abdulmutallab in federal court. And I’m, of course, a little mystified by this reaction, given the similarity of this case to the attempt by Richard Reid, who was prosecuted in federal court by the prior administration, now serving a life sentence. Some have argued the decision has compromised our ability to obtain useful intelligence.
But as I understand it and as Senator Feinstein touched on, there are quite a few examples of people who have been charged with terrorism-related crimes in federal court and cooperated with the U.S. government. Do you see any reason to treat this case differently from the Richard Reid case? And has it been your experience that alleged terrorists charged with crimes in federal court often cooperate with the government and provide useful intelligence?
Well, in direct answer to the question, we’ve had a number of cases in which through the process — the criminal justice process of the United States, individuals have decided to cooperate and provided tremendous intelligence. That is not to say that there may not be other ways of obtaining that intelligence. But, yes, in answer to your question, the criminal justice system has been a — a fount of intelligence in the years since September 11th.