When asked whether he should have been consulted on the treatment of the “underpants bomber” who attempted an attack on a Detroit-bound jet, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair answered in a word: “Duh.”
On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security Committee held a hearing to investigate intelligence failures that led to the near-miss on Christmas Day. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter and Blair told the panel none of them had been asked for guidance on whether criminal or military charges should be filed against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria.
Blair said the suspect should have been detained in part of his agency’s High Value Interrogation unit (HGI), and that he was not consulted about the decision to “Mirandize” the suspect. Ranking Republican Senator Susan Collins noted that the suspect stopped talking once informed of his right to remain silent.
Late Wednesday, Blair’s office issues a statement saying his comments had 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,” Blair’s statement read.
“In my opinion, he’s a prisoner of war, an enemy combatant,” said Senator Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut who chairs of the committee, while expressing concern that the top intelligence officials were left out of the process.
See Blair here:
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