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May 01, 2009

Andrew McCarthy on Serving on AG Holder's Roundtable on Detaining Releasing Terrorists: FYNQ

Another read-the-whole thing.

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.


...

I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.

Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.

He goes on to politlely explain that the president and AG Holder are both full of shit.

Obama realizes, of course, that his presidency will depend on the good behavior of the terrorists he releases into the American population. He will try to make sure they're well-behaved by putting FBI tails on them 24 hours a day.

The problem with that? A lack of resources. A friend does exactly this for the FBI. He follows terrorists around -- but not all day. Even though the FBI knows these guys are high-risk and plotting terrorism, they only follow them, say, one eight hour shift a day.

Why? There's too many of them to follow around 24/7.

Even if Obama does make sure these particular terrorists are getting the real 24/7 around-the-clock shadowing treatment, be aware, all those extra hours spent babysitting these guys come directly from hours not spent babysitting other guys.

Which is sort of why we have prisons in the first place. There is no need to actually detain anyone, if all you want to do is prevent a criminal from committing a crime. If that's all you want to do, you could just have cops follow around every convicted burglar and killer 24/7 to make sure they don't re-offend.


The problem? Well, to give burglars and killers their freedom in the general population of America, while making sure they don't break the laws further, would require a massive 20-30 person surveillance and management staff for every single criminal in America.*

This is sort of why prison was decided upon as a halfway measure between doing nothing at all to criminals, and making sure they didn't re-offend by simply putting them to death upon their first conviction for a serious crime.

But this is the special justice Obama has decided upon for terrorists. A common street-thief will be incapacitated from committing more crime by the relatively cheap measure of depriving him of his freedom for a period of years in a prison.

A terrorist, on the other hand, gets the gold-plated treatment. He gets to roam the streets, costing millions of dollars a month in salaries for surveillance people, meanwhile deducting such manpower from the general pool of eyes available to watch other terrorists.

Pretty good deal.

I'm sure Bill Ayers would agree -- common criminals are one thing, but terrorists are political criminals deserving of the Superstar treatment.

* One surveillance team consists of 4 or 5 guys, in two or even three different cars to make sure the same exact car doesn't keep appearing in the rear view mirror, plus extra bodies to take to the street when the subject is on foot or in a subway. Three such teams are needed for 24 hour a day surveillance, plus a back-up team ready to go in case the team gets burned or a new subject presents himself, plus you need at least another team on top of that because no one works 365 days per year. People need two days a week off, plus two to four weeks vacation.

So, ballparking it, 20-30 guys per terrorist. 30-35 is more like it. I'm not even addressing support staff and after-the-fact analysis. The surveillance teams themselves just surveil, they don't transcribe what they record and translate it and analyze what it might mean.

So... actually, more like 40 or 45 fairly highly paid FBI specialists covering every single terrorist Obama releases. Again, not just on your dime, but not available to surveil other terrorists.

And they've already got their hands full with the terrorists who have not yet actually been found to have committed terrorist acts.



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posted by Ace at 12:52 PM

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