Brennan sets the record straight

BRENNAN SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT…. John Brennan, President Obama’s senior counterterrorism adviser, offered a rather forceful response to Republican criticism of the Abdulmutallab case, and GOP demands that the attempted terrorist be treated as an enemy combatant.

Brennan said that on Christmas night he had briefed four senior House and Senate Republicans about Abdulmutallab, who was “in FBI custody” and at that point “talking” and “cooperating.” He said that at no point did any of the four — Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Republican minority leader; Sen. Christopher S. Bond (Mo.), ranking GOP member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the House minority leader; and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), ranking minority member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — raise concerns about Abdulmutallab being placed in military custody or being Mirandized.

Brennan said “quite a bit of an outcry after the fact” led him to be “concerned on behalf of the counterterrorism professionals” that politicians are using the issue for partisan purposes, whether they be Democrats or Republicans.

Republicans conceded that the administration alerted GOP officials to developments just hours after the incident, but they raised a new complaint — just because they knew Abdulmutallab was in FBI custody didn’t mean they knew that Abdulmutallab would be treated the way the FBI has already dealt with attempted terrorists.

In other words, Republican leaders are outraged because they weren’t entirely sure what happens after someone gets arrested, and assumed without reason that the FBI would handle the Abdulmutallab case differently than every related and similar case in recent memory.

It’s an extremely odd argument. Republicans are angry because they’re ignorant? In reference to GOP leaders Boehner, McConnell, and others, Spencer Ackerman added, “Apparently these men, who claim leadership on national security, know less about FBI procedure than the average movie-goer. Obviously the FBI Mirandizes suspects in their custody.”

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