Andrew McCarthy draws on his experience as prosecutor of the Blind Sheikh in the first World Trade Center bombing to show history repeating itself in the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab:
In Willful Blindness, I recount the debacle of repeated entries into the United States by, among others, the Blind Sheikh (Omar Abdel Rahman) and al Qaeda operative Ali Mohammed — the former permitted free entrance, egress and, finally, a green card (as a special religious worker) even though he was one of the world’s most famous jihadists and was on the terror watch lists for having authorized the murder of Anwar Sadat; the latter permitted to immigrate from Egypt and join the U.S. army despite having been caught trying to infiltrate the CIA.
Now, nearly 20 years later — after 9/11, the 9/11 Commission, etc. — we have Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: He was in the terrorist “database” because we were warned by his own influential father of his radical ties and proclivities, and he was evidently notorious among associates in Africa and Europe for his jihadist leanings; yet, he was issued a multiple-entry visa. And he claims to have been trained in Yemen — the al Qaeda hub to which the administration has just sent a half-dozen trained jihadists previously detained in Gitmo, and where it hopes to send many more.
I wonder what the media would be saying if George Bush were still president.
McCarthy also casts doubt on the efficacy of Obama’s approach to “militant extremism”:
Hadn’t Abdulmutallab heard that we are closing Gitmo? Hadn’t he heard that we’re phasing out military-commissions so we can show the world that we give even the worst mass-murderers civilian trials with all the rights of American citizens? Hadn’t he heard that President Obama has banned torture (yes, yes, I know, actually Congress banned it 15 years ago — details, details …)? Hadn’t he heard that the president has called for “a new beginning” in America’s relationship with the Muslim world? Hadn’t he heard that this is our new, smarter strategy to safeguard the nation from man-caused disasters?
Those are icy rhetorical questions, but McCarthy answers them nonetheless: “I suspect he’s heard all those things.”
UPDATE: The heading is a Mark Steyn pun borrowed by McCarthy (and me), not a typo.