If you want to see why a law-enforcement approach is absolutely the wrong way to defend the US against dangerous terrorists abroad, look no further than this asinine statement from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Lindsey Graham asked Eric Holder how he would go about interrogating any terrorists captured by military and intelligence personnel in the future if the DoJ would have them tried in civil courts rather than military tribunals, including the most notorious man of all, Osama bin Laden. Leahy scoffed at the notion that we would need to interrogate him at all:
If the U.S. captures Osama bin Laden, there’s no need to interrogate him, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of that committee, said that arguments raised by Republican senators about whether bin Laden would be afforded Miranda rights if he were captured amount to a “red herring.”
“The red herring that my friend [Sen.] Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.] was covering is not realistic,” Leahy said during an appearance on “Washington Journal” on C-SPAN.
“For one thing, capturing Osama bin Laden — we’ve had enough on him, we don’t need to interrogate him,” Leahy added.
Really? No need to interrogate him at all? The US would not be interested in discovering, say, any current plots to attack the US and its allies? Perhaps the location of Ayman al-Zawahiri? The identities of sleeper agents in the US?
Leahy may not be concerned about those issues, but our intelligence and military communities are, as well as our allies. And we’re not going to get that information from bin Laden or any other terrorist by handling them the same way we do Americans arrested for committing normal crimes. A display of good-cop/bad-cop is not going to get hardened jihadists to spill their guts; it takes intelligence agents with specific training to do that even under the best of circumstances, and the environment for that would create massive problems in a federal trial.
This is why we need people other than Pat Leahy in charge of national security. The big prize for Leahy in capturing bin Laden isn’t national security, but a big splashy trial. The fact that Leahy isn’t even dimly aware of these considerations is reason enough to dismiss him entirely, and those of his colleagues who don’t understand the difference between arresting a murderer and capturing an enemy abroad. The law-enforcement approach Leahy champions so ignorantly with this assertion will leave America blind to plots against us.