We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
— The Secret Sits, Robert Frost
The recent WikiLeaks (tsunami would be a
better word) of about 77,000 diplomatic cables and intelligence reports raised
a recurring issue of American law and policy.
A disturbed young man in our military in Europe turned over classified
government documents to WikiLeaks (ironically, an organization dedicated to
transparency that does not disclose its address or officers’ names). It, in
turn, passed them on to The New York Times
, as well as reputable British and German press organizations.
My first position on the controversy over the planned mosque and Muslim community center planned to be constructed within two blocks of Ground Zero was to applaud Mayor Bloomberg’s courage in not blaming all Muslims for the murderous actions of extremist, inhuman, suicidal thugs who happen to be of the Muslim faith.
Both the Obama administration and its Republican critics are to blame in the latest effort to politicize national security.
We all learned last weekend on NBC's “Meet the Press” that White House counter-terror adviser John Brennan consulted Republicans in Congress on Christmas Day when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was Mirandized just 50 minutes after being taken into custody. Brennan claims no one asked him whether or not Abdulmutallab was given the right to remain silent and the members he named — Sen. Kit Bond (R) of Missouri and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) of Michigan — exploded. Hoekstra claims he will never speak to Brennan again unless the phone conversation is recorded, and both he and Bond are demanding that President Barack Obama fire Brennan.
The Obama administration, coming under fire for administering Miranda rights to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab just 50 minutes after questioning him about his attempted bombing on Christmas Day aboard a Northwest Airlines flight, has begun to rethink several key national security questions. This week we learned from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) that the White House is revisiting a plan to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a prison in Thomson, Ill. And we know from key Democrats, though the Department of Justice continues to deny it, that the trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed won't be taking place in New York City after all.
The terrorists won by forcing cowardly politicians, both Republicans and
Democrats, to undermine Attorney General Eric Holder’s plans to bring KSM to
trial in lower Manhattan, within blocks of the scene of the crime, ground zero.
By so loudly opposing the New York City venue, of course, Republicans are
outright hypocrites. For eight years, under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the
policy of the United States was to bring terrorist suspects to trial in federal
civilian court, most of them in New York. According to Human Rights Watch, they
brought 119 such cases following Sept. 11, with a 91 percent conviction rate.
And that included two high-profile security trials: shoe bomber Richard Reid in
Boston and al Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui in Alexandria, Va.