Thursday, June 11, 2009

If It's On Fox, It Must Be True!

The FauxNews machine is working overtime to promote Mr. Rogers' recent trip to Afghanistan.

According to Mr. R., the Obama administration is "creating chaos in the field among the CIA, FBI and military personnel" by "quietly ordering the FBI to start reading Miranda rights to suspected terrorists at U.S. military detention facilities in Afghanistan."  

[It would be interesting to determine the amount of time Mr. Rogers spends "in the field" relative to "inside the gates of Bagram Air Base."]

Chaos in the field?  That's a pretty serious statement.  

Yet U.S. military commanders told Fox that soldiers aren't Mirandizing anyone, and a DOJ spokesman stated that

"There has been no policy change nor blanket instruction for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas," he said in a statement, adding, "While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas, at both Bagram and in other situations, in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees."

It's worth noting that no other mainstream news source seem to be reporting this. Other than the usual suspects in the right-wing blogosphere, no one else is talking about it.  Some conservative bloggers are hedging a bit:  
More confirmation is needed before a general outcry takes hold 
Even The Weekly Standard has held off on a hissy fit: 
A lawyer who has worked on detainee issues for the U.S. government offers this rationale for the Obama administration’s approach. “If the US is mirandizing certain suspects in Afghanistan, they’re likely doing it to ensure that the treatment of the suspect and the collection of information is done in a manner that will ensure the suspect can be prosecuted in a US court at some point in the future.”
That's right, folks: evidence given under duress [i.e., torture] is inadmissible in a court of law. You can't prosecute the bad guys without evidence.  Ergo, all law enforcement professionals -- from local cops to the FBI -- know that they need to play by the rules when capturing and interrogating suspects or they risk letting dirtbags walk out of the courtroom.

Approaching terrorism as a law enforcement issue instead of a military issue isn't a new idea. The United States tried and convicted Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.  Abdel-Rahman was sentenced to life in prison and has been sitting in SuperMax since 1996.  The British, no strangers to fighting terrorism, have successfully prosecuted such cases through their court system for years.

Mr. Rogers once again turns to the emotional anecdote in lieu of sensible policy.  If he's genuinely concerned about troop safety and national security, and convinced of the facts, why isn't he shouting this from the rooftops instead of selectively whispering into friendly ears?  

UPDATE:  The American Prospect has a post on Gen. Petraeus' press conference, where he stated that 

"This is the FBI doing what the FBI does," Petraeus replied. "These are cases where they are looking at potential criminal charges. We're comfortable with this." He denied that his soldiers and other relevant American agents are reading Miranda rights to detainees, some of whom are detained as enemy combatants, while others are high-value anti-terror targets. (A U.S. federal court recently ruled that some Bagram detainees have the same habeas rights as prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.)

While it seems that Rogers (and the Fox News correspondent) are happy to play up fears that the Obama administration is soft on terror, Petraeus' didn't seem to concerned by the DOJ practice, which the DOJ denies began with the current administration. In another portion of his speech, discussing the comprehensive strategy launched against Al Qaueda in Iraq as an indirect model counter-terror operations in Afghanistan, Petraeus noted the importance of counter-insurgency amoung detainee populations and the need for releasing certain detainees to help win over the populace, noting that by the end of his time in Baghdad the recdivism rate among released detainees was a very impressive 1 percent.  [emphasis added]

General Petraeus says that his troops aren't Mirandizing detainees -- and he's not concerned about the FBI doing so.  Mr. Rogers says that IS happening.  Does that mean the four-star general is "soft on terror," or does that mean the congressman is a manipulator "misinformed"?

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