Actionable intelligence

ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE…. For all the baseless whining about how the Obama administration handled the Abdulmutallab case, it appears increasingly obvious that the White House’s approach was not only correct, but is paying dividends that benefit all of us. Eli Lake has this important report.

U.S. and allied counterterrorism authorities have launched a global manhunt for English-speaking terrorists trained in Yemen who are planning attacks on the United States, based on intelligence provided by the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day bombing after he began cooperating.

U.S. officials told The Washington Times that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, facing charges as a would-be suicide bomber, revealed during recent cooperation with the FBI that he met with other English speakers at a terrorist training camp in Yemen. Three U.S. intelligence officials, including one senior official, disclosed on the condition of anonymity some details of the additional bomb plots. […]

Information about the bomb plots was shared with the FBI after Mr. Abdulmutallab’s family traveled from Nigeria to help coax the former student into cooperating, after a period of about five weeks when he refused to help authorities.

Let’s be really clear about this. Republican criticism hasn’t just strayed badly from reality in the Abdulmutallab case; the more important takeaway is that if U.S. policy followed Republican talking points, we’d be less safe as a nation right now.

On the surface, one of the key GOP attacks is the notion that making Abdulmutallab aware of his rights meant that we were denied important intelligence about possible terrorist threats. It should be painfully obvious that Republicans have no idea what they’re talking about — Abdulmutallab has provided critically important information since getting a lawyer and being Mirandized.

But we can also go one step further and realize the depths of Republicans’ misguided ideas here. If, for example, we’d locked up Abdulmutallab in a military prison and/or denied him Miranda rights, he wouldn’t be cooperating right now.

The White House has defended the decision to treat Mr. Abdulmutallab as a criminal on the grounds that the suspect’s family has coaxed him into cooperating, something that likely would not have occurred had he not been afforded access to counsel.

There’s a “global manhunt” underway to prevent potentially deadly terrorist attacks precisely because the U.S. is operating under Obama’s approach, and not Cheney’s.

For anyone who takes American security seriously, this policy debate is over. The discredited right looks increasingly ridiculous with each passing day.