Category Archive 'Eric Holder'
08 Aug 2014

Justice at Yale as Decreed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder

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Woodbridge2
Woodbridge Hall, meeting room where Yale’s top officials make decisions.

K.C. Johnson, at Minding the Campus, describes the truly Orwellian system of adjudicating complaints of sexual assault which has evolved at Yale as the result of threats of sanctions by Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights.

Yale, as part of an agreement with OCR (Office of Civil Rights), revised its procedures and promised biannual reports from Yale deputy provost Stephanie Spangler.

Over the past three years, these Spangler documents have provided a first-hand illustration of what passes for due process at one of the nation’s leading universities. From them, we learned that more than a half-dozen Yale students (including former quarterback Patrick Witt) had been found culpable for sexual assault under “informal complaint” procedures that provide no grounds for an accused student to present evidence of his innocence. The latest Spangler report has now been released. It suggests that due process still stands in short supply on the New Haven campus. …

Seven cases this semester have gone through the “informal” process—which can best be seen as a kind of “Scarlet Letter” approach. That is: given the limitations on the accused student’s ability to present evidence, it’s almost impossible for an “informal complaint” to end without the accused student being branded a rapist. But beyond the branding, Yale allows only limited punishment through the informal procedure. Of the six students (one case remains pending) who faced charges of sexual assault through the “informal complaint” process, each received the same punishment—“counseling” and a prohibition on contacting the accuser.

For one student last spring, the allegation was just the beginning. Yale’s “formal complaint” procedure prevents the accused from having an attorney as part of the process; brands the accused a rapist based on a 50.01 percent finding from a panel specially trained panel; and denies the accused any right to cross-examine the accuser. Even under these guilt-tilting procedures, one accused student was found not culpable—meaning that Yale’s disciplinary panel concluded that it was more likely than not he was the subject of a false allegation.

The outcome of the case? The accused student was punished. He received a no-contact order with his accuser (there was no reciprocal order)—meaning that if the two happen to enroll in the same course, the accused student would need to drop the class; or if the two happened to be assigned to the same dorm, the accused student would have to move.

Yale also referred the accused student for “sexual consent training.” (Yale’s website contains no description of what this “training” entails, but here’s a summary from a feminist blog.) Again: Yale concluded that it was more likely than not that the accused student was the victim of a false allegation. Yet even though Yale’s own accuser-friendly procedures concluded that it was more likely than not the accuser leveled a false allegation, the accused was punished, while the accuser received no punishment of any sort.

In the several years of Spangler reports, there never has been any indication that Yale has punished even one student for filing a false claim of sexual assault. …

One of the Title IX cases from the spring provides a sense of the Orwellian nature of the Title IX coordinator’s work. “A third party reported,” according to Spangler, “that more than one female [Yale] student, whom the reporter would not identify, [emphasis added] was sexually assaulted by a male Yale student.”

Or, in plain English, a Yale student is now being investigated as a serial rapist, with the possibility of sanctions—even though none of the females he allegedly raped have filed a complaint, or have even been identified. How any student could defend himself against such a charge is unclear.

Read the whole thing, and feel your blood run cold.

18 Nov 2010

How Is That Civilian Trials Policy Working Out For You, Mr. Holder?

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The answer is: not well. The Embassy Bomber who killed 224 people in the simultaneous truck bomb attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 was acquitted in a Manhattan Federal District Court of all but one count of a 285 count indictment.


Jennifer Rubin
, in Commentary, explains what went wrong.

The acquittal of Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani yesterday on all but one of 285 counts in connection with the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has once again demonstrated that the leftist lawyers’ experiment in applying civilian trial rules to terrorists is gravely misguided and downright dangerous. The soon-to-be House chairman on homeland security, Peter King, issued a statement blasting the trial outcome and the nonchalant response from the Justice Department:

    “I am disgusted at the total miscarriage of justice today in Manhattan’s federal civilian court. In a case where Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was facing 285 criminal counts, including hundreds of murder charges, and where Attorney General Eric Holder assured us that ‘failure is not an option,’ the jury found him guilty on only one count and acquitted him of all other counts including every murder charge. This tragic verdict demonstrates the absolute insanity of the Obama Administration’s decision to try al-Qaeda terrorists in civilian courts”

Congress can start by ending federal-court jurisdiction over detainees. Then they should demand Eric Holder’s resignation — preferably before his serially wrong advice causes any more damage to our national security.

As the New York Times explains:

    [P]rosecutors built a circumstantial case to try to establish that Mr. Ghailani had played a key logistical role in the preparations for the Tanzania attack.

    They said the evidence showed that he helped to buy the Nissan Atlas truck that was used to carry the bomb, and gas tanks that were placed inside the truck to intensify the blast. He also stored an explosive detonator in an armoire he used, and his cellphone became the “operational phone” for the plotters in the weeks leading up to the attacks, prosecutors contended.

    The attacks, orchestrated by Al Qaeda, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands of others.

But the case was ill-suited to civilian courts, and a key witness was excluded from testifying:

    But because of the unusual circumstances of Mr. Ghailani’s case — after he was captured in Pakistan in 2004, he was held for nearly five years in a so-called black site run by the Central Intelligence Agency and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — the prosecution faced significant legal hurdles getting his case to trial. And last month, the government lost a key ruling on the eve of trial that may have seriously damaged their chances of winning convictions.

    In the ruling, the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court, barred them from using an important witness against Mr. Ghailani because the government had learned about the man through Mr. Ghailani’s interrogation while he was in C.I.A. custody, where his lawyers say he was tortured.

    The witness, Hussein Abebe, would have testified that he had sold Mr. Ghailani the large quantities of TNT used to blow up the embassy in Dar es Salaam, prosecutors told the judge, calling him “a giant witness for the government.”

The judge called it correctly, and explicitly warned the government of “the potential damage of excluding the witness when he said in his ruling that Mr. Ghailani’s status of ‘enemy combatant’ probably would permit his detention as something akin ‘to a prisoner of war until hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end, even if he were found not guilty.’”

In other words, what in the world was the bomber doing in an Article III courtroom? He was, quite bluntly, part of a stunt by the Obama administration, which had vilified Bush administration lawyers for failing to accord terrorists the full panoply of constitutional rights available to American citizens who are arrested by police officers and held pursuant to constitutional requirements.

Once again, the Obama team has revealed itself to be entirely incompetent and has proved, maybe even to themselves, the obvious: the Bush administration had it right.

18 Jul 2010

Decrying Panthergate

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Abigail Thernstrom, nearly two weeks ago in National Review Online, pooh-pooh-ed the scandal of Eric Holder’s Justice Department overruling prosecutors in order to quash the voter intimidation case against Philadelphia Black Panthers, describing it as insignificant by comparison to the (more abstract, and less sexy) issue of the Department of Justice requiring racially gerrymandered election districts.

Forget about the New Black Panther Party case; it is very small potatoes. Perhaps the Panthers should have been prosecuted under section 11 (b) of the Voting Rights Act for their actions of November 2008, but the legal standards that must be met to prove voter intimidation — the charge — are very high.

In the 45 years since the act was passed, there have been a total of three successful prosecutions. The incident involved only two Panthers at a single majority-black precinct in Philadelphia. So far — after months of hearings, testimony and investigation — no one has produced actual evidence that any voters were too scared to cast their ballots. Too much overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges has been devoted to this case.

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Nothing gratifies the left’s commentariat like a conservative come to Lenin, so Thernstrom’s characterization of the Philadelphia Panther affair as small potatoes was shouted from the rooftops.

Ben Smith, at Politico, treated it as headline news.

Adam Serwer, at American Prospect, gloatingly announced that Thernstrom’s comments exploded a conservative conspiracy to bring down Eric Holder and damage Barack Obama.

And Joan Walsh, editor in chief of Salon, was today hastening to admire Adam Serwer’s intelligence in the course of performing damage control. It turns out that the Washington Post, unlike the New York Times, really does have an Ombudsman representing the public’s interest in journalistic evenhandedness and objectivity.

The Philadelphia Panther Polling Place Intimidation story has been receiving coverage from Fox News and developing legs as a story and provoking public interest, causing Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander to criticize the Post’s delay in covering it.

Walsh lays down the law in response to Alexander:

[I]t really is hard, with limited news room resources, to decide whether and how to cover the insane narrative of rumors, half-truths and lies being peddled by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, not to mention Fox News “reporters” like Megyn Kelly. By covering them (as Salon readers frequently remind us) we risk spreading lies and delusion beyond the right-wing smogosphere. But by ignoring the ones that gain political currency, we risk letting them acquire more influence than they deserve.

Let me state, for the record, that the New Black Panther Party is a despicable, deluded, crackpot fringe group, whose members’ insane anti-white rhetoric sometimes makes me wonder if they’re still on the payroll of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, that 60s-era project in which righty provocateurs infiltrated left-wing groups, including the Black Panthers, and egged on some of the worst violence (not that the old Panthers weren’t capable of violence and thuggishness all on their own, along with the breakfast programs their lefty admirers like to remember).

But the right wing needs the thuggish but miniscule and derided NBBP to matter, and to tie the crazy group to our black president, in order to advance their narrative of lies about Obama’s “racism,” tyranny and illegitimacy to be president. If they can convince enough people that Obama was elected thanks to intimidation by the NBPP, and “voter fraud” by the now-defunct ACORN, they won’t even need the crazy Birthers to prove he’s not legitimately president, even though he won with a bigger mandate than any first-term president since Lyndon Johnson (who of course had become president after the Kennedy assassination.) …

It’s the job of editors at big papers like the Post to expose those lies, and the movement behind them – not to flagellate themselves for not saying “How high?” when right-wing media watchdogs say “Jump!”

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The left’s arguments as to why the Department of Justice blocking prosecution of the Philadelphia Black Panther standing in front of the Fairmont Avenue polling station brandishing a nightstick is a non-story run like this:

J. Christian Adams, the former Justice Department voting rights attorney who resigned and later testified before the the U.S. Commission on Civil Right in connection with Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s handling of the Philadelphia case, is a Republican who was hired by another Republican attorney they dislike.

No one has proven that Eric Holder or Barack Obama personally interfered.

The New Black Panther Party is a small, unrepresentative fringe group that simply does not matter.

No one has produced voters testifying that they were prevented from voting by the Panthers.

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Most Americans do not agree that testimony coming from Republicans, even from conservative Republicans, of bias and improper conduct can be impeached successfully simply by identifying the witness’s politics. An obviously greater number of Americans trust the reliability of Fox News more that they trust other networks, the New York Times or the Washington Post, and more Americans believe that conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh are reasonably fair-minded than would say the same thing of Salon.

The unavailability of evidence of participation of senior officials in a far-from-thoroughly-investigated scandal is not per se exculpatory evidence.

The Fairmont Avenue nightstick-carrying Panther incident is known from a few very short videos which were posted on YouTube. A University of Pennsylvania student tried filming and interviewing the Panthers. He found them hostile and evasive. In the immediate aftermath of that confrontation, he or a Republican poll observer summoned the police. The Panther carrying the nightstick was persuaded by Philadelphia police to leave. His associate produced identification as a poll watcher, and was (despite his paramilitary get up) permitted to remain.

A Fox News reporter, Rick Leventhal, interviewed the Republican poll observer, who told him that the Panthers had tried to intimidate him when he tried to enter. The observer was also subjected to racial remarks. He says that he then phoned the police.

The police intervened after two Panthers, one armed with a nightstick, had been standing in front of the Fairmont Avenue polling place door for about an hour. It’s true that this specific incident involved two people and a fairly limited amount of time. But it was clearly a case of intimidation.

Is the fringiness of the intimidators some kind of legal defence?

What would Ms. Thermstrom, Mr. Serwer, or Ms. Walsh say about two people in paramilitary uniforms, brandishing a club and making hostile racially-charged remarks having probable discouraging impact in detering black or Jewish voters or observers from entering a polling place? Under the proposed insignificance rule, Nazis or Ku Klux Klansmen could police certain polling stations at will, as long as they remained basically few in number and intimidated only a few people. And, of course, if they succeeded in scaring people away from testifying about what had happened, that would be all the better, since it would prove that no one had been intimidated at all.

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Let my readers decide for themselves. Here are the videos.

1:21 University of Pennsylvania student films Panthers at 1221 Fairmount Avenue polling place video

1:00 video Philadelphia police intervene. The Panther with the bill club is ordered to leave. The other Panther is allowed to stay because he is a registered poll watcher!

Departing billy club wielder: “that’s why you’re going to be ruled by a black man.” 0:05 video

4:05 Fox News video from 2008 with Rick Leventhal.

Who was holding that billy club? Samir Shabaz 0:51 video

Addtional evidence of denial of entry and election fraud in Philadelphia appeared in a couple of other videos:

Poll watcher denied entry to polling place on 6125 Market Street. 2:53 video

This black voter in Overbrook Park tells CNN he voted “a coupla times.” 0:41 video

Earlier postings

06 May 2010

Iowahawk: The Case of the Purloined Pathfinder

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Iowahawk
‘s latest is a Bloomberg Holmes classic detective, with Eric Holder playing the role of Watson!

“What have we here, officer?” Holmes inquired of the chief constable on the scene, pausing to alternately suck in his left and right nostrils and shudder in deep contemplative satisfaction.

“Open and shut case, you lordship,” said the man, whose badge bore the name Sainsbury. “Roight. Now if you look here, this is a late model Nissan sport utility brougham, registered to a man what goes by the name of Faisal Shahzad, and what soaped up these signs in th’ windows that says ‘death to those who insult the prophet,’ all written up in the Arabic nice-as-you-like. Now if you look, the vehicle is parked pretty-as-you-please in front of Parker & Stone’s…”

“Parker & Stone? Do you mean those ghastly men who produce the South Park penny dreadfuls that have so offended the city’s peaceful Muhammedans?” I inquired. “I thought they were to be taken in for questioning.”

“Patience, Holder. It is the next item on my agenda after shutting down the sodium dens,” said Holmes. “Go on, officer.”

“Roight. It seems our Mr. Shahzad is a member of the mosque of the cleric what read him a death fatwa against Parker & Stone. Now sir, if you look inside the brougham you’ll see what is some wires that is set up to this bomb, ready to go off with this mobile telly, and a basket of baklava and a note what says ‘Dear Faisal, good luck with the big infidel cartoonist killing, Love, Mum.’ Ah, there’s our suspect now!”

Our discussion was interrupted by another constable, an affable Chinaman by the name of Ming, accompanied by a swarthy ululating young man whom he had entrapped in handcuffs.

“Pinched ’em sarge!” enthused the man’s captor. “An’ just in th’ nick of toime. Just as you said, the scoundrel was down at the docks tryin’ to stow away on a tramp steamer to the Suez.”

“Well well well, what ‘ave we here?” said Constable Sainsbury, reaching into the man’s pocket without so much as a warrant. “A mobile telly what has the number of the bomb telly on the old speed dial. Book ‘im, lad!”

“Unhand this man at once, you incompetent fools!” exhorted Bloomberg Holmes, angrily smacking the Nissan with his magnifying glass. “He may be speaking and gesticulating in a tongue strange to our ears, but it is quite obvious he is protesting his innocence!”

“…but sir…” stuttered Sainsbury.

“But nothing, Sainsbury. Why would a guilty man so vehemently maintain his innocence, particularly one who is a devotee of the religion of peace?”

“but sir, I assumed…”

“And quite obviously assuming makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘Ming.’ With its own constabulary engaged in such blatant racialist profiling, is it any wonder our city’s peaceful Mohammedans are occasionally driven to piques of frustration? If nothing else, that cavernous hole in lower Gotham should stand as a monument to the consequences of such blithe and ignorant bigotry.”

“I… I don’t know what to say, your Lordship,” said Ming, head held low in shame.

“Say nothing more,” said Holmes. “Release this man at once, and turn in your badges. On the morrow, you shall report for mandatory diversity training. Consider yourselves fortunate if you are reassigned to the anti-sugared drink enforcement squadron. As for you, Mr. Shahzad, please accept my sincerest apologies for interrupting your evening activities, and my personal invitation to serve as Grand Marshall in the gala Macy’s parade. If you would like to file a discrimination suit over this unfortunate incident, my friend General Holder will be delighted to assist you.”

I tipped my silk hat to the young man and handed him my calling-card.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

04 Mar 2010

How Many Attorneys Formerly Representing Detainees Are Now Employed By the Justice Department?

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Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made a particular effort to find out how many of the Obama Administration’s new hires in the Justice Department had previously been involved in representing terrorist detainees in court battles with the Bush Administration. Senator Grassley noted the possibility of a “conflict of interest in putting the same people in charge of prosecution who had recently been defending these kinds of people.

In response to a letter from Grassley, last month, Holder admitted that there were nine such attorneys, but refused to identify seven not already publicly known.

Attorney General Eric Holder says nine Obama appointees in the Justice Department have represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining the Justice Department. But he does not reveal any names beyond the two officials whose work has already been publicly reported. And all the lawyers, according to Holder, are eligible to work on general detainee matters, even if there are specific parts of some cases they cannot be involved in.

Holder’s admission comes in the form of an answer to a question posed last November by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. Noting that one Obama appointee, Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, formerly represented Osama bin Laden’s driver, and another appointee, Jennifer Daskal, previously advocated for detainees at Human Rights Watch.

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And there may have been more than nine:

It is possible that there are more than nine political appointees who worked for detainees. Holder tells Grassley that he did not survey the Justice Department as a whole but instead canvassed several large offices within the organization.

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Liz Cheney’s group Keep America Safe made some trouble for Eric Holder by demanding in a recent video that he identify an additional seven attorneys

0:48 video

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Prompted by the Keep America Safe video, Fox News investigated and uncovered the identities of the other seven.

Before joining the Justice Department, Jonathan Cedarbaum, now an official with the Office of Legal Counsel, was part of a “firm-wide effort” to represent six Bosnian-Algerian detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, according to the web site of the firm WilmerHale.

That effort brought the case Boumediene v. Bush to the Supreme Court, which reaffirmed the right of detainees to challenge their detention.

But, according to a review by Fox News, Cedarbaum’s name appears only once in court records of detainee-related cases. Specifically, he’s named as part of the WilmerHale legal team in a 2007 filing with the Supreme Court, and he was joined in that filing by Eric Columbus, a former WilmerHale attorney who is now senior counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.

Alongside Cedarbaum in the Office of Legal Counsel now is Karl Thompson, who while working for the firm O’Melveny & Myers became one of seven attorneys to represent Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

But, according to court documents, Thompson was only part of Khadr’s defense team for seven months, from October 2008 to May 2009.

More than five years before that, Joseph Guerra, now Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department, was one of five lawyers from the firm Sidley Austin to help three civil liberties groups, including the self-described “conservative” Rutherford Institute, file a detainee-related brief with the Supreme Court.

The brief urged the justices to hear the case of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who was held as an “enemy combatant” before the Bush Administration decided in 2006 to prosecute him in a civilian court..

Similarly, in November 2006, Tali Farhadian, now an official in the Office of the Attorney General, was an attorney with the firm Debevoise & Plimpton when she helped file a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, urging the federal appeals court to hear the case of Ali al-Marri, the only “enemy combatant” at the time being held on U.S. soil.

In addition, Beth Brinkmann, now Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, was a partner with the firm Morrison & Foerster when she helped compile at least two Supreme Court briefs dealing with Guantanamo Bay detainees.

In 2007, she and others co-signed a Supreme Court brief by 20 former federal judges calling for further protection of detainees’ rights, and the next year she co-signed a brief by two advocacy groups, including The Rutherford Institite, urging the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from al-Marri.

The most extensive detainee-related work by a current Justice Department official, though, may have been done by Tony West, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

For several years, while working in Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, West represented “American Taliban” Johh Walker Lindh, a move that was hotly debated after West was nominated to the Justice Department in January 2009. West wasn’t confirmed until April 2009.

But Holder’s search was obviously less than exhaustive and he was hardly motivated to inquire closely. Chances are good that even more examples of such potential conflicts will turn up.

04 Feb 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

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Vulnerable democrats seeking distance from Obama. Surprise, surprise.

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Leftwing commentariat still trying to pass defunct health care bill. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Chait provoke stinging rejoinder from Ann Althouse.

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Carly Fiorina has an amusing Monty Pythonesque attack ad directed at a Republican primary opponent, labeling him a FCINO (Fiscal Conservative in Name Only). Needs re-editing, but worth a look. 3:21 video

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Eric Holder waives the 5th and admits to Mirandizing Abdulmutullab. We’ll see how he feels about all this after the next attack.

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Poof: Another 800,000 jobs disappear.

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Don Surber:

Tom Jensen at the liberal Public Policy Polling: “If you want a prism into why Democrats are struggling so much right now, this may sum it up: only 11% of voters across the country say that their economic situation has improved over the last year compared to 42% who think it has become worse. 47% say it’s about the same as it was.”

25 Jan 2010

Who Mishandled Abdulmutallab?

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George Smiley notes ironically that the Massachusetts special election did the Obama Administration one big favor. It soaked up all the news coverage, preventing anyone paying attention to some very damaging congressional testimony by Admiral Dennis Blair.

Appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair admitted that intel officials bungled the handling of Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber who tried to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day.

Specifically, Mr. Blair told the committee that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by a special team that handles high value targets. But the spooks never got a crack at the Nigerian suspect. As Blair told Congress, he was never consulted about how the suspect should be handled.

Indeed, the nation’s intel apparatus was apparently out of the loop as the FBI decided to treat the would-be bomber as they would a criminal. Mr. Blair’s lieutenants were out of the loop as well. Then, after less than an hour of questioning, Abdulmutallab was read his Miranda rights and provided with legal counsel. At that point, he stopped cooperating with authorities, leaving key questions unanswered.

And, it gets worse. Remember that team that’s supposed to interrogate high-value suspects? It was hailed as a key element of Mr. Obama’s plan (unveiled last year) to end the “torture” of terror detainees and shut down the facility at Guantanamo Bay. But as Blair informed the Homeland Security panel, that highly-touted team has never been formed.

For his candor, Blair is in trouble with Congressional Republicans–and the White House. According to Newsweek’s “Declassified” blog, administration officials have described the DNI (a retired Navy admiral) as “misinformed,” and have ordered him to correct his remarks. Sure enough, Blair released a statement only an hour later, claiming that his comments were “misconstrued.”

In other words, Admiral Blair is feeling the heat for telling the truth. The nation’s intelligence chief was never consulted in the aftermath of an attempted terrorist attack that could have destroyed an airliner and killed hundreds of passengers. He also claims that the (limited) FBI interrogation provided important information, although you’ve got to wonder just how much Abdulmutallab divulged in hour before FBI agents advised him of his “rights.”

There’s also the troubling matter of why the High-Value Interrogation Group (or HIG as it’s known) still isn’t in operation. Months after the President ordered its creation, attorneys are still devising a charter for the group, suggesting that it is months away from achieving operational status. Until then, who’s in charge of interrogating suspected terrorists? After being pilloried by politicians and the press, both the CIA and the military have grown skittish; we’re guessing that most of the questioning will be conducted by the FBI, until the HIG–staffed by experts from intelligence and law enforcement–becomes operational.

Blair’s disturbing admissions also raise another question, namely, who made the call to treat Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect, rather than an accused terrorist? The administration claims the decision was made by agents from the FBI’s Detroit field office, who met the plane when it landed. But that sounds a bit suspect. Would you, as a Special Agent in Charge be willing to stake your career on the handling of a suspected terrorist–a decision you made without consulting your superiors in Washington?

There’s little doubt that senior FBI officials (and probably, Attorney General Eric Holder) were alerted when Abdulmutallab was removed from that Northwest flight. And the decision to “Mirandize” was likely made by high-ranking officials at the bureau, if not Mr. Holder himself.

10 Jan 2010

And Then the Singing Stopped…

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The Roosevelt Administration did not send Nazi saboteurs landed in Long Island during WWII over to Foley Square for civilian prosecution. It gave them a secret military trial and then executed 8 out of 10. The other two got lesser sentences (which were ultimately commuted after the war) in exchange for cooperation.

The Telegraph reports that once Farouk Abdulmutallab was lawyered up, we lost a potentially extremely useful intelligence source.

President Barack Obama is under fire over claims that the Christmas Day underwear bomber was “singing like a canary” until he was treated as an ordinary criminal and advised of his right to silence.

The chance to secure crucial information about al-Qaeda operations in Yemen was lost because the Obama administration decided to charge and prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as an ordinary criminal, critics say. He is said to have reduced his co-operation with FBI interrogators on the advice of his government-appointed defence counsel.

The potential significance became chillingly clear this weekend when it was reported that shortly after his detention, he boasted that 20 more young Muslim men were being prepared for similar murderous missions in the Yemen.

And that’s why putting National Defense in the hands of ultra-liberal idealogues like Barack Obama and Eric Holder holds the potential for disaster.

The Supreme Court held in Ex Parte Quirin:

…the law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.

02 Jan 2010

“Different Attitude, Different Results”

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Eric Holder and Barack Obama

A.J. Strata argues that it was not just random luck that nobody did anything to stop Major Hasan before the Fort Hood massacre and not just one of those things that Abdulmutallab was given a US visa and never promoted to the no-fly list, counter-terrorism effort has been slackened by the current administration and liberal pieties prioritized above saving American lives.

This new, liberal leaning administration took the high tempo of a heated war against a dangerous, evil enemy and turned into a cautious criminal investigation of ‘extremists’ who cause ‘man made disasters’. This change had consequences – intended and otherwise. War means ‘whatever it takes’, crime investigation is slow and cautious and shrouded in personal protections for the ‘accused’.

They also legally threatened those who were tirelessly defending this nation 24×7. Where people were once willing (and rewarded) to go the extra mile, make personal sacrifices, spend the extra time to ensure a lead was not the next 9-11, the new administration deflated that drive and made our defenders more concerned with their own security than national security. …

We have growing evidence Team Obama made changes in our national security posture which could easily have resulted in the Nigerian bomber getting through our defenses. First from a career State Department source:

    This employee says that despite statements from the Obama Administration, such information was flagged and given higher priority during the Bush Administration, but that since the changeover “we are encouraged to not create the appearance that we are profiling or targeting Muslims.

And then there were these massive organizational changes to a system that was protecting us:

    Obama fundamentally altered the culture and risk-taking incentives of the intelligence community with policy and personnel changes. The sense of urgency is gone, and he’s made it uncool to call the war on terror a war at all. If he wants to treat terrorism like a criminal act, rather than an act of war, we should not be surprised when the results look a lot like the bureaucratic foul-ups that happen all the time in law enforcement. He gutted the Homeland Security Council coordinating role, he diluted the focus of the daily intel brief, he made CIA officials worry more about being prosecuted for doing their jobs than capturing terrorists. … He’s made it his business to turn much of the national security apparatus set up by Bush and Cheney upside down and has succeeded …

Richard Clarke was a thorn in the side of President Bush for years after 9-11. He was in the Clinton Administration on the National Security Council. He is also quite accurate in his assessment of what happened inside the Obama Administration that led to these incidents (Ft Hood Massacre and Flight 253):

    “It points to something fundamental,” said Richard A. Clarke, a former top counter-terrorism official in the Bush and Clinton administrations. “No matter how good your software is or how good your procedures are, at the end of the day it comes back to people. And if people think that this is a 9-5 job and they’re not filled with a sense of urgency every day, then you’ll get these kinds of mistakes.”

That is the distinction between fighting a war and the job of investigating crime. That is the difference between being rewarded for extra effort instead of scrutinized and threatened for it. Same tools, different attitude. Are we surprised in the different results?

07 Dec 2009

DOJ Resignations Related to Panther Coverup?

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The Washington Times wonders aloud: Is Eric Holder’s Department of Justice experiencing major in-house fighting and a rash of resignations connected with a top-level decision to avoid prosecuting the 2008 voter intimidation by Black Panthers in Philadelphia seen everywhere on YouTube video?

Could it be that President Obama’s legal team is imploding due to a voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party? …

First, a Web site called “Main Justice” reported on Wednesday (and we have since confirmed) that the Justice Department has, for now, ordered two key career attorneys not to comply with a subpoena about the case issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The commission, by law, has explicit power to issue subpoenas, and the law mandates that “all federal agencies shall cooperate fully with the commission.” The Justice Department, however, is citing internal regulations stemming from a 1951 case to support its order to ignore the subpoena. …

Second, that same day, the two Republican House members with top-ranking jurisdiction over the Justice Department, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, issued a joint statement calling Justice Department delays “a cover-up,” and “a pretense to ignore inquiries from Congress and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.” At a hearing on Thursday, Mr. Smith said that “continued silence by the Justice Department is an implied admission of guilt that the case was dropped for purely political reasons.”

Third, at the same hearing, Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, accused Justice Department Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez of not being “truthful” while under oath, to such an extent that “there are people who have gone to jail” for such a level of purported “dishonest[y].”

The disputed statement, from what appeared to be prepared remarks by Mr. Perez that he later repeated insistently, was that “the maximum penalty was sought and obtained” against the one Black Panther for whom the charges were not entirely dropped. The bizarrely weak penalty consisted of a mere injunction for the Black Panther not to brandish a weapon near a polling place, within Philadelphia, through Nov. 15, 2012. In short, he is prohibited, only within Philadelphia and only for four years, from doing something that is illegal anyway. …

As all of this was going on, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, the No. 2 man in the whole department, was announcing that very morning that he will resign after less than 10 months in office. Mr. Ogden – whose possible involvement in the Black Panther case had been specifically mentioned in the Civil Rights Commission’s subpoena – became the third high-ranking Obama legal official to announce a resignation in the last month. He was preceded by White House counsel Gregory Craig and deputy White House counsel Cassandra Butts.

19 Nov 2009

Graham Demolishes Holder

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Lindsey Graham must have decided that he wants to keep his job. Yesterday he left Eric Holder baffled during Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings, simply by asking him: Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?

This dialogue then followed:

GRAHAM: If bin Laden were caught tomorrow, would it be the position of this administration that he would be brought to justice?

HOLDER: He would certainly be brought to justice, absolutely.

GRAHAM: Where would you try him?

HOLDER: Well, we’d go through our protocol. And we’d make the determination about where he should appropriately be tried. […]

GRAHAM: If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?

HOLDER: Again I’m not — that all depends. I mean, the notion that we —

GRAHAM: Well, it does not depend. If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.

The big problem I have is that you’re criminalizing the war, that if we caught bin Laden tomorrow, we’d have mixed theories and we couldn’t turn him over — to the CIA, the FBI or military intelligence — for an interrogation on the battlefield, because now we’re saying that he is subject to criminal court in the United States. And you’re confusing the people fighting this war.

NYM made the same point as Mr. Graham last week.

4:40 video

14 Nov 2009

Why Give KSM a Civilian Trial?

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How can a case against a foreign enemy apprehended by another government possibly be prosecuted within the rules of domestic criminal procedure? Khalid Shaikh Mohammed obviously was never Mirandized. What can Eric Holder and Barack Obama possibly be thinking? Are these people hopelessly naive?

Andrew McCarthy doesn’t think so. He thinks they know exactly what they’re doing.

We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America. Since that will be their “defense,” the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case — they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America’s defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.

Read the whole thing.

20 Oct 2009

Another Fascinating Decision By Obama’s Justice Department

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“Of course he wants to vote the Democratic ticket!” (Harpers, 1876)

Party labels are essential in elections in order to assure black democrats win. If black democrats don’t win, and black Republicans should accidentally be elected, black voters are being deprived of their electoral will, according to Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.

Welcome to the post-racial America we were assured would come into being upon the election of America’s first black president.

Washington Times:

Voters in this small city decided overwhelmingly last year to do away with the party affiliation of candidates in local elections, but the Obama administration recently overruled the electorate and decided that equal rights for black voters cannot be achieved without the Democratic Party.

The Justice Department’s ruling, which affects races for City Council and mayor, went so far as to say partisan elections are needed so that black voters can elect their “candidates of choice” – identified by the department as those who are Democrats and almost exclusively black.

The department ruled that white voters in Kinston will vote for blacks only if they are Democrats and that therefore the city cannot get rid of party affiliations for local elections because that would violate black voters’ right to elect the candidates they want.

Several federal and local politicians would like the city to challenge the decision in court. They say voter apathy is the largest barrier to black voters’ election of candidates they prefer and that the Justice Department has gone too far in trying to influence election results here.

Stephen LaRoque, a former Republican state lawmaker who led the drive to end partisan local elections, called the Justice Department’s decision “racial as well as partisan.”

“On top of that, you have an unelected bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., overturning a valid election,” he said. “That is un-American.”

The decision, made by the same Justice official who ordered the dismissal of a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia, has irritated other locals as well. They bristle at federal interference in this city of nearly 23,000 people, two-thirds of whom are black.

14 Sep 2009

Rule of Law Isn’t What It Used To Be Under Obama

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Andrew looks smug in his Atlantic logo illustration. It’s nice having friends in high places.

Remember George W. Bush?

We used to have a president so rigidly righteous that he actually refused to pardon Lewis Libby for defending his own administration and thus becoming the target of a special prosecutor and winding up convicted of perjury (in a case where no crime was really ever proven to have occurred) by a DC jury.

Now we have Barack Obama, who is not like that at all.

Intimidate voters, brandishing billy clubs in Philadelphia? You don’t get prosecuted if you were an Obama supporter. Eric Holder’s Justice Department will overrule career prosecutors for you.

Are you a governor or state official taking campaign contributions in exchange for contracts? If you’re a democrat, you are OK. Eric Holder’s Justice Department will drop the investigation.

Suppose you are a homosexual leftwing blogger, who also happens to be a non-US-citizen, in danger of getting into trouble with immigration if you are convicted of a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana on a Cape Cod Beach? You have a Get Out of Jail Free card, if you are, as Andrew Sullivan is, a faithful defender of Barack Obama and his policies. The US Attorney’s Office will go right on prosecuting non-Obama-supporting-bloggers coming before the court for the identical complaint, but will shock the court by giving you a special pass.

Andrew himself is declining to comment on the advice of counsel.

Boston Globe

Some News Agency

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