John Brennan claims that GOP leadership in Congress had been briefed by the Obama administration about the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and the decision to handle his case through the criminal justice system. The National Security Adviser told Meet the Press that no Republican ever raised any objections to the decision made by Eric Holder during their briefings:
The two Republicans briefed on the matter immediately objected to Brennan’s characterization of the amount of information delivered by the White House on the EunuchBomber’s situation:
But Brennan’s comment provoked a sharp rebuke from two of the Republicans who received the briefings.
“This was like a three or four minute phone call,” Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) told POLITICO on Sunday. Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “At no point did he ever talk to me about legal strategies.”
“For this guy to get out there and start saying things like this is irresponsible,” Hoekstra said.
Byron York heard from Senator Kit Bond, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee:
Sen. Bond responds, saying Brennan “never told” him of the plan to Mirandize Abdulmutallab. Bond’s entire statement:
[“]Brennan never told me any of plans to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber — if he had I would have told him the administration was making a mistake. The truth is that the administration did not even consult our intelligence chiefs, as DNI Blair testified, so it’s absurd to try to blame Congressional leaders for this dangerous decision that gave terrorists a five week head start to cover their tracks.[“]
It seems ridiculous to claim that Bond and Hoekstra got fully briefed on the strategy for handling Abdulmutallab when DNI Dennis Blair, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and others in the counterterrorist chain of command have already testified that they didn’t get briefed on that decision until it was made. If the White House didn’t consult Mueller or Blair, why would they have picked up the phone and called Bond and Hoekstra? Brennan’s claim that a call giving the two the outline of the attack somehow amounts to acquiescence of the point of Mirandizing a terrorist before fully interrogating him is ludicrous, and obviously self-serving. It’s almost as bad as Janet Napolitano’s “the system worked” spin on the Sunday after Christmas.