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FBI Dir. Mueller Warns Terrorist Threats “More Dangerous With Each Passing Day”; And Intelligence Director Misspeaks

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Some of  the Who’s Who of the federal law enforcement and intelligence community came to Capitol Hill at multiple hearings to talk about terrorism and security, including FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III Mueller, who warned of the dangers ahead.

“As the Christmas Day attempted bombing illustrates the threats we face are becoming more diverse and more dangerous with each passing day,” Mueller said in a statement before Congress.

Mueller testifying before Congress/cspan photo

Mueller testifying before Congress/cspan photo

“We not only face threats from al Qaeda, but also from self directed groups not part of al Qaeda’s formal structure, which have ties to terrorist organizations through money or training.”

Meanwhile, Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence apparently misspoke when testifying before Congress. He  said before a decision was made to prosecute in civilian court, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab  should have been interrogated by the High Value Interrogation Group, a concept created last year after the President decided to close Gitmo, the Associated Press reported.

“That unit was created exactly for this purpose — to make a decision on whether a certain person who’s detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means,” Blair told the Senate homeland security committee. “We did not invoke the HIG in this case; we should have.”

He also said he was not consulted before a decision was made to question the bomber and prosecute him in a civilian court.

The problem is the unit was created in concept only.  It is not yet operational. In other words, it is non-existent.

Dennis Blair/cspan photo
Dennis Blair/cspan photo

But a press report on the  Washington Post website portrayed Blair as being critical of the FBI  and of  the decision to prosecute in civilian court and not use the interrogation unit.

Blair subsequently issued a statement on his agency’s website:

“My remarks today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs have been misconstrued. The FBI interrogated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab when they took him into custody. They received important intelligence at that time, drawing on the FBI’s expertise in interrogation that will be available in the HIG once it is fully operational.”

The Post reported Thursday that he added: “There should be a decision process right at the outset as to the balance between intelligence-gathering and evidence for prosecution.”

Fair to say, whatever the truth is here, there are differences that need to be ironed out between the intelligence community and the FBI.

Some on Capitol Hill have been highly critical that the administration did not choose to declare Abdulmutallab an enemy combatant. They feel authorities could have gotten far more intelligence from him.

FBI agents interviewed the attempted bomber after his arrest and reportedly got valuable intelligence. However, he clammed up after he was appointed public federal defenders.

Some who have defended the move to prosecute in civilian court have pointed out that the shoe bomber Richard Reid was taken to a civilian court as well.

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Pingback from Newsweek Reports Obama Admin. Flabbergasted Over Intelligence Dir. Testimony on Detroit Bomber and Demanded Correction | Tickle The Wire
Time January 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

[…] Read ticklethewire.com report from Wednesday SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Newsweek Reports Obama Admin. Flabbergasted Over Intelligence Dir. Testimony on Detroit Bomber and Demanded Correction", url: "http://www.ticklethewire.com/2010/01/21/newsweek-reports-obama-admin-flabbergasted-over-intelligence-dir-testimony-on-detroit-bomber-and-demanded-correction/" });  Print This Post […]

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