That being the case, we are now witnessing canard No. 3: There may have been a few bumps in the road, but we learned everything we needed to know in the Tsarnaev interrogation.
Ridiculous. A competent intelligence debriefing involves weeks, if not months, of questioning. That’s because its aim is to develop a complete threat mosaic and arrange our defenses accordingly. By contrast, a post-arrest interrogation by law enforcement is designed to obtain a confession for use at trial. It is not an intelligence-gathering exercise, which is why its purposes can be served by 16 hours of questioning — and often a lot less.
An intelligence debriefing means following the leads uncovered in the questioning of the detainee, then repeatedly coming back to the detainee for clarification and additional insight as new information is discovered. That is not something that can or should be permitted in the case of a criminal defendant presumed innocent; it is for the extraordinary case of a wartime enemy operative who is part of the forces waging jihad against our country.
Obama and the Lawyer Left know this. Anyone who took a few minutes to think about it would know it. But in their twisted conceit that the threat to our nation results not from the enemy’s ideology but from American aggression, they have convinced themselves that American aggression (what the rest of us call national defense) must be hamstrung by civilian due process — that war can be reduced to crime, even if the enemy declines to play by the rules.
So in the effort to tame you into believing civilian due process has proved wildly successful in the Marathon bombing investigation, just as Obama and Holder promised it would, the government is now strategically leaking interrogation details.
Sure it may look like the investigation was a tragicomedy of errors in which our $100 billion national-security edifice, despite investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev for a year and a half before the bombing, had to ask the public’s help in identifying a picture of him. But look: We stopped a spectacular bombing at Times Square! And sure, there’s a lot of innuendo about Islam and overseas “extremists,” but after 16 hours of penetrating scrutiny we’ve figured out that this was just wanton “homegrown” violence committed by a couple of confused kids — the sort of thing that is bound to happen if we don’t crack down on gun ownership and Islamophobia.
The fraud is on. Will we keep falling for it?
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the executive director of the Philadelphia Freedom Center. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.
Editor’s note: This piece has been amended since its original posting.