“We’re now dealing with international terrorists,” he said, “and I think that we have to think about perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have and somehow coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face.”Why Jake Tapper wouldn't push back on the odd notion that somehow the Attorney General has just recently noticed the international component of terrorism is puzzling, especially since Holder was at Justice when they sentenced US citizen Ali Mohammed for helping bin Laden, but nevertheless this has political stunt written all over it. But it also has desperation written all over it.
First, the problem--what to do with American citizen terrorist suspects? The HIG was set up for foreign terrorists but as we saw with Jose Padilla, it's not so easy to handle domestic foreign terrorists without trampling the spirit of the founding documents. The terrorists know this--many, like KSM and Mohammed, have lived in America.
Bush decided to classify them as enemy combatants, an option that is still practically available despite it's status as political napalm. Then again, having Obama decide whom to classify an enemy combatant doesn't exactly produce a warm fuzzy based on his recent demonization of little old ladies sitting in lawn chairs on main street at tea party protests.
Anyway, Holder's big news (a BFD?) can be taken several ways. One, it allows a comparative argument between the Arizona illegal law and it's slipperiness with a possible reversal of both pleasing the far left at some point, or in other words, both proponents can say they were forced into their decisions by an untenable situation with the hope of federal intervention.
Two, it could appeal to some conservatives critical over using the standard law enforcement approach to stop the Shahzams of the world while also allowing them a modicum of "told you so", something that could work on moderates come November.
And three, it stops short of going back to black sites and enhanced interrogation, which would be so Bushian as to cause a massive nuclear head explosions in the leftist intelligensia and at the least cause open warfare between the radical bloggers and the administration.
Then again, it could be nothing more than an administration flailing wildly after another lucky break, tacitly admitting they don't have the tools in place to thwart these plots ahead of time anymore due to their law enforcement approach rooted in their demagoguery over Bush's solution in order to gain political power.
More digestion is needed here--at first blush it's hard for anyone to be in favor of suspending the rights of American citizens based on the determination of local law enforcement upon arrest, but declaring suspects enemy combatants without the right to representation seems to the only other choice, and in some respects it's a Faustian bargain.
This is blazing through the web like a wildfire, "Exclusive: Mullah Omar Captured". Let's rejoice and assume it is. Now what? Does the HIG finally get a workout or does he get read Miranda?
Military Commission or trial in lower Manhattan? Gitmo in the interim?
Seems completely unbelievable to think Pakistan has had him since March and we didn't know, or they were holding it. Why? Something else about to blow open? Surely the Pakis interrogated him in a less than gentle fashion, did he give up the cave dwellers?
While we wait for the eventual walking back of this cat two recent stories may shine some light on the chaos that perhaps lead to this leak. On Friday General Petraeus issued a statement saying that Times Square Shahzam might have been inspired by Pakistani terror figures but likely had no contacts, while Holder came out Sunday and unequivocally said he most certainly did have contacts. Don't they coordinate? Sounds like there's an issue between the military and the administration. Imagine if this was going on during the Bush years, the press would be rabid in playing up the division, especially if it included General Powell. Now? Well, we basically have no press.