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Collins Struggles to Reconcile Her Fearmongering with New Information on Abdulmutallab

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) (photo: Remy Steinegger)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) (photo: Remy Steinegger)

Andrea Mitchell just hosted Sen. Susan Collins, who has taken the lead on Republican attacks against the Justice Department for reading Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights and providing him with a lawyer. And Mitchell was not her usual self – she was actually willing to challenge Collins’ false claims, and provide the context that Abdulmutallab is now cooperating after members of his family were brought in to earn trust.

Mitchell started by asking Collins if this approach to interrogation wasn’t more favorable than declaring Abdulmutallab an enemy combatant and using torture. Collins claimed that she received testimony from the Director of National Intelligence, Homeland Security Director and the head of the National Counter-Terrorism Center that they were not consulted on the Miranda decision. She also said that there was a long six-week gap between when Abdulmutallab returned to cooperate and provide intelligence, and we lost time-sensitive information.

And Mitchell, who was actually prepared, oddly enough, responded that DNI, DHS and the NCTC all participated in a national security briefing on Abdulmutallab and did know about the Miranda rights decision. She noted that the Nigerian family members would not have helped earn cooperation from Abdulmutallab if he did not have access to a lawyer and was being treated well (ensuring that the intelligence is actually decent instead of a way to get captors to stop torturing him). She said that the Bush Administration proceeded in exactly the same fashion with respect to Richard Reid. And she said that even under military procedures, Abdulmutallab would have had a lawyer.

Collins, shocked that she actually had to defend her moronic talking points, evaded the questions she didn’t want to answer, and replied that the military detainee system provides “more flexibility” – yeah, I’ll bet it does – and that, in fact, Jose Padilla was held as enemy combatant (what a model case!).

Eventually, Collins resignedly said that yes, she’s glad Abdulmutallab is cooperating now, but 5-6 weeks of “time-sensitive information” was lost because the intel wasn’t provided immediately. And the security officials may have known about the Miranda decision, but weren’t consulted enough. Or something.

It’s fun to see the Republicans run aground on their talking points today. They don’t even have them straight. Later in the show, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that the Administration did the right thing by asking the family to help get Abdulmutallab to talk, and claimed that this proved he was right all along, and they should have done more than 50 minutes of interrogation initially. I have no idea what that means. Should the US have immediately teleported over Abdulmutallab’s entire family moments after the Christmas bombing attempt?

Maybe they’ll realize that life isn’t 24. But I doubt it.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Susan Collins Struggles To Reconcile Her Fearmongering With New Information On Abdulmutallab

Andrea Mitchell just hosted Sen. Susan Collins, who has taken the lead on Republican attacks against the Justice Department for reading Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights and providing him with a lawyer. And Mitchell was not her usual self – she was actually willing to challenge Collins’ false claims, and provide the context that Abdulmutallab is now cooperating after members of his family were brought in to earn trust.

Mitchell started by asking Collins if this approach to interrogation wasn’t more favorable than declaring Abdulmutallab an enemy combatant and using torture. Collins claimed that she received testimony from the Director of National Intelligence, Homeland Security Director and the head of the National Counter-Terrorism Center that they were not consulted on the Miranda decision. She also said that there was a long six-week gap between when Abdulmutallab returned to cooperate and provide intelligence, and we lost time-sensitive information.

And Mitchell, who was actually prepared, oddly enough, responded that DNI, DHS and the NCTC all participated in a national security briefing on Abdulmutallab and did know about the Miranda rights decision. She noted that the Nigerian family members would not have helped earn cooperation from Abdulmutallab if he did not have access to a lawyer and was being treated well (ensuring that the intelligence is actually decent instead of a way to get captors to stop torturing him). She said that the Bush Administration proceeded in exactly the same fashion with respect to Richard Reid. And she said that even under military procedures, Abdulmutallab would have had a lawyer.

Collins, shocked that she actually had to defend her moronic talking points, evaded the questions she didn’t want to answer, and replied that the military detainee system provides “more flexibility” – yeah, I’ll bet it does – and that, in fact, Jose Padilla was held as enemy combatant (what a model case!).

Eventually, Collins resignedly said that yes, she’s glad Abdulmutallab is cooperating now, but 5-6 weeks of “time-sensitive information” was lost because the intel wasn’t provided immediately. And the security officials may have known about the Miranda decision, but weren’t consulted enough. Or something.

It’s fun to see the Republicans run aground on their talking points today. They don’t even have them straight. Later in the show, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that the Administration did the right thing by asking the family to help get Abdulmutallab to talk, and claimed that this proved he was right all along, and they should have done more than 50 minutes of interrogation initially. I have no idea what that means. Should the US have immediately teleported over Abdulmutallab’s entire family moments after the Christmas bombing attempt?

Maybe they’ll realize that life isn’t 24. But I doubt it.

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David Dayen

David Dayen