The Washington Post reports that the would-be Christmas bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, remains in a Detroit prison where, after initial debriefings by the FBI, he has “restricted his cooperation.” The “restriction” occurred after he obtained a defense attorney.
Abdulmuttab should not be in a regular prison and he should not have a defense attorney. His decision about whether to cooperate with our efforts to learn about other terrorists he may have associated with and their plans to engage in future terrorism should not be one he makes free from coercion.
An earlier version of the Post’s story included this statement: “Authorities are holding out hope that [Abdulmutallab] will change his mind and cooperate with the probe, the officials said.” The Post removed the passage. Whether it did so out of embarrassment for the “officials” or for the newspaper itself is unclear.
“Hope” seems like a rather ineffective counterterrorism tool. If “authorities” intend to rely on it, they should be hoping that no one connected, however indirectly, with Abdulmutallab commits an act of terrorism against America or American interests.
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