Terrorists and their supporters are having a good run, as Jed Babbin shows. Last week, Scotland released Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi, who murdered 270 people, including 189 Americans 11 Scots, by placing a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988. Megrahi, who was released (at least ostensibly) for reasons of “compassion,” received the welcome of a returning hero when he arrived in Libya.
Violent extremists throughout the world will also be encouraged by the decision of Yale University Press not to publish the book Cartoons that Shook the World unless the book does not include the cartoons themselves. The Washington Post’s editorial board recognized the meaning of this event when they observed that Yale is enabling violent extremists to set the terms of permitted speech.
But the most important victory for terrorists and their supporters consists of the Obama administration’s moves to deprive our intelligence agencies of key means through which to obtain information from captured terrorists. This ongoing process receives another boost today with the release of the CIA Inspector General’s report that terrorist detainees were abused in CIA custody.
As Babbin points out, the CIA’s Inspector General report on interrogations has been available to the Department of Justice for years. Three former Attorneys General and numerous career prosecutors have examined the findings of that report and other evidence, and determined that the facts do not support criminal prosecutions. But Attorney General Holder reportedly is about to appoint a special prosecutor to go after CIA interrogators. The release of the CIA IG’s report appears to be the prelude to the persecution of the CIA interrogators for trying to scare leading terrorists into giving up information that would save American lives.
The release of the report will, according to Newsweek, be accompanied by the release of some redacted version of a memoranda former Vice President Cheney asked for that shows the value of the “enhanced interrogation methods” by demonstrating that valuable, actionable intelligence was gathered as a result. But a selectively redacted memo would be unlikely to provide an accurate picture. Nor is there any reason to suppose that the Obama administration wants the public to see such a picture.
Finally, the Washington Post reports that the Obama adminstration has approved the creation of an “elite team” of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects. The move, says the Post, is designed to shift interrogation oversight from the CIA to the White House. Let’s hope that we find out which people at the White House will exercise this oversight. That way, we’ll know immediately who, in addition to the president, to hold accountable for the quality of the information, if any, that terrorists provide.
Obama has already gone a long way towards ensuring that interrogators cannot use any technique that might reasonably be expected to extract information from hardened terrorists. Thus, it’s a good thing his team will be “elite.” I fear, however, that in this context, “elite” means “enlightened,” i.e. liberal and compassionate. Like the Scots who released Megrahi.
It looks more and more like the West is no longer serious about defending itself from terrorists. So we’re left to hope that terrorists are no longer serious about inflicting terror on the West.
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