Via Fox News:
WASHINGTON — The recent capture of the Taliban’s No. 2 is a big score for the Obama administration in the war on terror, but so far, the White House has said little about how Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was captured, where he is being held and what intelligence, if any, he is providing.
All that is known is that Baradar was apprehended in Karachi by a joint CIA-Pakistani operation and that he “was talking,” one Pakistani officer told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
“This involves very sensitive intelligence matters,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. “This involves the collection of intelligence, and it is best to do that and not to necessarily talk about it.”
Oh really? From where has this new attitude on keeping quiet on gathering sensitive intelligence information come? One of this administration’s top priorities from day one has been to reveal every highly sensitive intelligence gathering tactic the US has had at its disposal – in order to try and shame and embarass the Bush administration and their counterterrorism policies, policies which, BTW, kept us safe in the aftermath of 9-11. So all of a sudden ObamaCo. are clamming up now? If Baradar is being questioned “legally” under US, NATO, and Geneva Conventions guidelines, then why not just say so? After all, didn’t Obama promise to return to the “rule of law” when it came to the detention of terrorists and their “rights”? Why is there no rush to assure the “concerned” public both home and abroad (esp. in Europe) that Baradar is being treated properly in accordance with the Geneva Conventions/NATO/US guidelines?
Baradar is being held in Pakistan by local authorities for the time being, but other options have been somewhat limited by new NATO rules — and by President Obama’s own policies.
In January 2009, Obama issued an executive order banning so-called “black sites,” classified locations where CIA and overseas security officials interrogated terrorists, and another executive order calling for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The rules have changed for holding detainees on the battlefield, as well. Last summer, NATO instituted a 96-hour rule, which says that if any NATO or International Security Assistance Force soldiers, including Americans, can’t transfer captured terrorists or enemy combatants to the Afghan justice system within 96 hours, they have to be released.
“It is a big limitation,” a senior official in Afghanistan told Fox News at the time of the rule change. “Not being able to detain individuals to conduct interrogations … is very restrictive, something that we didn’t have to worry about in Iraq.”
There are some exceptions to that rule. If a wanted terrorist is picked up by a U.S. Special Forces unit working under the confines of Operation Enduring Freedom, rather than NATO, that prisoner would be sent to a detention facility at Bagram Air Base, where U.S. interrogators would be free to question him within the guidelines of the Army Field Manual.
The hope is that high-value targets are picked up by elite U.S. units and not by NATO, but that exception may not last. A military official in the Pentagon told Fox Tuesday, “we are looking at that policy to see of it’s a good idea.”
Well, they can stop reviewing that “policy” because it’s obvious that it’s not a good idea – that is, unless Obama continues to be lucky enough to have the the Pakistani intelligence forces doing the dirty work for us. Is that really what this administration wants? To “hope” that high-value targets are either picked up by the US Special Forces or via joint CIA/Paki intellgence ops so they can bypass the very laws they vowed to stand by in an effort to “restore” America’s reputation around the world as an respector of “human rights” and the “rule of law”?
I ask all these rhetorical questions for one reason: To demonstrate this administration’s out and out hypocrisy on the issue of terrorists “rights,” which I wrote about in depth yesterday in response to the initial reports regarding Baradar’s capture. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad Baradar’s in the custody of Pakistani and US intelligence officials, and I hope they wring him dry of all the intelligence they can – using every tool at their disposal, if necessary. This is also not about wanting them to reveal what Baradar is saying. It’s about what I feel is the importance of pointing out this administration’s double standards, especially considering how Democrats have raked Bush over the coals over Gitmo, “torture,” etc over the last 8 years or so. Bush was a human rights “nightmare,” according to the left, an evil man hellbent on thumbing his nose at the rule of law soley because he wanted to be a dictator, not just President. If the left was to be believed, the counterterrorism policies either put in place or fine-tuned under Bush had nothing to do with wanting to protect America in the aftermath of 9-11 but rather were a backdoor route to claiming “unlimited executive power” in a time of war purely for devious personal gain.
Let the record show that under the Obama administration, a high-value terrorist has been captured in Pakistan and is being interrogated by Pakistani intelligence agents, likely with the aid of the CIA operatives who helped capture him. Let the record also stand that the administration thus far has refused to reveal whether or not this high-value admitted terrorist is being treated “humanely” under NATO/US/GC guidelines. The fact that at this stage they haven’t rushed to assure the American public one way or the other is a strong indicator to me that they are circumventing the new laws they put in place and vowed to uphold, laws they promised would “restore” America’s standing in the world in light of how we were supposedly viewed during the Bush administration.
In short, this administration has scored a major victory in the global war on terror likely by utilizing the same post-capture tactics they decried under the Bush administration. In light of this, one question remains: Should they be thanking Bush for this, too? Or apologizing for demonizing him and his administration for years for authorizing tactics they themselves now use when necessary in the GWOT?