Senator Jeff Sessions takes John Brennan to task for his op-ed claiming that giving a terrorist a lawyer and telling him he can remain silent doesn’t impair our ability to gather intelligence:
In what must seem a bitter irony to many who voted for Obama, the administration is now at great pains to justify its anti-terrorism policies by claiming that they are the same as those of the once-dreaded Bush administration. Most recently, press secretary Robert Gibbs, speaking on MSNBC this morning, invoked the fact that the Bush administration ultimately prosecuted Jose Padilla in a civilian court. Not only that, Gibbs said, “Jose Padilla was made an enemy combatant so that we could get him to talk. And guess what happened when we made him an enemy combatant, he didn’t talk. He did talk when he was transferred back into a civilian court.”
This was a lie, plain and simple, as Tom Joscelyn explains:
In fact, Jose Padilla only started cooperating once he was transferred into the military’s custody and interrogated.
Jose Padilla was arrested at the Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on May 8, 2002. At the time, U.S. authorities had multiple reasons to be suspicious of him. Most importantly, senior al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah had been taken into custody in late March 2002 and provided information to authorities that led to the identification of both Padilla and his would-be accomplice, Binyam Mohamed. The two were identified as al Qaeda recruits who had been tasked with a mission inside the U.S.–namely, an attack on a high-rise apartment building.
Thus, when Padilla was initially detained by the FBI in May 2002 authorities knew he was up to no good. The FBI questioned Padilla for several hours but got nowhere. A copy of the FBI’s 302 memo written after the initial questioning of Padilla shows that al Qaeda’s man gave the bureau nothing. Padilla talked about his personal history but said nothing about his real intentions or his nefarious friends.
The FBI even offered to put Padilla up in a hotel so they could continue their conversation. But when the agents tried to turn the conversation towards Padilla’s al Qaeda ties, he shut down the interview. “He stood up and told me the interview was over and it was time for him to go,” Fincher recalled during testimony.
Padilla was then read a Miranda warning, arrested on a material witness warrant and transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.
There he stayed for one month without giving up anything of importance to the FBI. During that time…the Bush administration weighed its options, ultimately deciding to designate Padilla an enemy combatant. After Padilla was transferred to the brig on June 9, 2002, the leading newspapers noted the chief reason for the move: Padilla wasn’t cooperating with authorities.
“Officials said Padilla has refused to cooperate since his arrest,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The New York Times elaborated: “Officials have justified his detention [in military custody] by saying he is considered to be an enemy combatant. He has refused to cooperate with the authorities who have questioned him.” …
Padilla would ultimately talk. But, contrary to Gibbs and Brennan, it wasn’t until he was placed in the military’s custody–not when he was returned to the civilian court system.
On June 1, 2004, the Defense Department released a memo summarizing what was known about Padilla both before and after he was transferred into the military’s custody. The second page of the memo contains two paragraphs concerning what authorities had learned about Padilla up until June 9, 2002, the day he was transferred into the military’s custody. As the aforementioned press accounts make clear, authorities had garnered no information from Padilla himself. The DoD cited “intelligence information” and “our information” but no admissions by Padilla. Nearly all of the information on Padilla up until that point came from other al Qaeda detainees and sources.
The memo then reads: “Since that time [June 9, 2002], additional and more detailed intelligence information about Jose Padilla has been developed and made available in unclassified form.”
That additional information includes several pages of unclassified intelligence, including a number of admissions by Padilla, which were corroborated by other detainees.
Joscelyn goes on to chronicle the significant admissions that Padilla made after he was transferred to military custody.
Dishonesty has become the hallmark of the Obama administration. Obama and his cohorts know that most people have neither the time nor the inclination to research the truth of their public statements. Knowing, too, that the press is compliant, Obama believes that he and his subordinates can get away with just about any whopper they choose to tell. Perhaps so. Yet, in just one year the American public has lost confidence in the administration’s credibility. The sort of wanton fabrication that Obama, Gibbs, Brennan and others in the administration are engaged in can only accelerate that process.
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy explains further why the Padilla case illustrates the opposite of what the administration claims, i.e., “the limitations and inadequacies of the civilian justice system as applied to enemy combatants.”