Many will be suspicious of the timing of these leaks, coming as they do against the backdrop of mounting criticism of the Obama Administration’s terror policies.
To assure the public that the Mirandized Abdulmuttallab is cooperating, AG Holder or FBI Director Mueller should make some general statements to that effect while testifying to an oversight committee. A simple statement confirming that he is answering all questions fully and that his answers are consistent with all other information available to counterterrorism experts would put that issue to rest without any damage to national security.
I discussed this case with Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Max Boot on today’s show. (Isikoff transcript here and Boot transcript here.) Boot and I also discussed Iran, and here is that exchange:
HH: Ahmadinejad made one of his crazy talk statements yesterday about on February 11th, the world will see that you can’t mess around with me, or something like that. What did you make of that?
MB: More bluster from Ahmadinejad. I mean clearly, he is a leader who is prone to extremist rhetoric, who is in the throes of this millenarian religious ideology, and who is hell bent on having Iran go nuclear, and ultimately wind up eradicating the state of Israel. I mean, that’s what we know about him, based on his public statements and his actions. The question is what are we going to do about it? And the Obama administration’s overtures to the Iranian leadership have been rudely rebuffed, and the Obama folks that promised that there would be “serious consequences” forthcoming, but I have yet to see any of those consequences. And part of that has to do with the fact that they thought that they could charm Russia and China into signing up for serious Iran sanctions at the U.N. Security Council. And again, that’s another foolish illusion they came into office with, which they have been rudely disabused of by the reality they have found in the past year.
HH: Now what about the idea that we are sending a lot of missile defense to the region? Does that indicate a level of fear about Iran’s willingness to initiate attacks that did not previously exist? Or is it a continuation of long standing deterrent policies?
MB: It may be an attempt to send a signal to Iran, but it’s not clear what that signal is, because it could be interpreted either as a warning that we will not tolerate Iran going nuclear, or conversely, it could be interpreted as preparations for dealing with a nuclear Iran, and trying to contain a nuclear Iran. It’s hard to know which it actually is. In either case, it’s hardly a substitute for the kind of tough sanctions that are necessary to really punish Iran for its nuclear weapons program, and also for, it’s not a substitute for really backing the Green movement, which is ultimately the best way to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, by trying to encourage and help the people of Iran to change their own regime.