McConnell Seizes on Intel Chief’s Screwup

Created: January 21, 2010 11:38 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

Never letting a good blunder go to waste, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), pounced on Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair’s botched Northwest Airlines testimony in a statement this morning:

yesterday several members of the administration’s national security team testified before the Senate concerning the attempted Christmas Day attack by the Nigerian terrorist of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. This testimony was troubling, and left some wondering why the administration is subjecting this terrorist to criminal prosecution instead of gaining the valuable intelligence that is needed in our war on Al Qaeda.

“Admiral Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, stated frankly that the Christmas Day Bomber should have been questioned by the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group; Blair went on to say that neither he nor other important intelligence officials were consulted on this matter. This raises several troubling questions:

“First, why were Miranda rights given to the obvious terrorist after only a brief session of questioning, which predictably ended his cooperation?

“Second, at what level of authority was this decision taken to treat him as a criminal defendant instead of an unlawful enemy combatant? Who made this decision?

“I asked this question last night of John Brennan, the President’s senior counterterrorism adviser, three times and he refused to answer. I think that the Senate is entitled to know precisely who authorized this.”

McConnell, following Blair, demanded to know why the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group didn’t interrogate Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, eliding the fact that even Blair subsequently conceded the so-called HIG is not yet operational.

How long until the White House dumps its director of national intelligence?