When questioning its detainees, the CIA routinely turns the information provided over to its experts for verification and recommendations for follow-up. The responses of these experts -- "Press him more on this, he knows the details" or "First time we've heard that" -- helps set up more detailed questioning.
None of that happened in Detroit. In fact, we ensured that it wouldn't. After the first session, the FBI Mirandized Abdulmutallab and -- to preserve a potential prosecution -- sent in a "clean team" of agents who could have no knowledge of what Abdulmutallab had provided before he was given his constitutional warnings. As has been widely reported, Abdulmutallab then exercised his right to remain silent.
In retrospect, the inadvisability of this approach seems self-evident. Perhaps it didn't appear that way on Dec. 25 because we have, over the past year, become acclimated to certain patterns of thought.
Yes, these "patterns of thought" exercised by the Obama Administration with regard to terrorism are almost always in the direction of maintaining and nurturing the political left's psychological denial--about the very nature of terrorism; the "rights" of terrorists; and the ultimate goals of organizations like Al Qaeda and their Muslim members. In order to achieve the level of denial necessary to make the whole business go away, for example, Obama and his followers have gone to great lengths to use rhetorical manipulations (e.g, changing the name of the war on terror to the ridiculous "overseas contingency operations"); to console themselves with the idea that Obama's rhetorical skills alone are enought to make the problem go away. Then there is always the persecution and demonization of those who actually take the threat seriously and are using their various talents to develop effective strategies or to fight the terrorists directly. Hence the ongoing persecution of people like John Yoo for daring to give legal opinions that Obama and the left didn't like; or the interrogations of CIA personnel, even as they prevent the interrogations of terrorists like Abdumutallab; and so on and on as we have seen over the last year.
Has this approach made us safer? Richard Cohen doesn't think so--in fact, he argues that Obama et al are "tone deaf" with regard to terrorism:
There is almost nothing the Obama administration does regarding terrorism that makes me feel safer. Whether it is guaranteeing captured terrorists that they will not be waterboarded, reciting terrorists their rights, or the legally meandering and confusing rule that some terrorists will be tried in military tribunals and some in civilian courts, what is missing is a firm recognition that what comes first is not the message sent to America's critics but the message sent to Americans themselves. When, oh when, will this administration wake up?
Bit by bit, circumstances are forcing President Obama and his aides to come to grips with reality.
The problem is that the only reality that seems to matter to President Obama and his aides is a rather sordid political one--Obama's decline in the polls and the reality that frightened Democrats are deserting a sinking ship. Now, I am not minimizing the possibility that this might--MIGHT--force them to reconsider their overall approach to the problem and open their eyes to the reality of the enemy we face.
But then Obama would also have to break through the thick postmodern fog that has been his sustenance and shield from reality for decades. He would have to come to grips with many unpleasant truths about the ideology and goals he has embraced and which he intends to force down America's throat now that he is President.
Personally, I don't think Obama has shown much evidence that he is capable of having this particular epiphany about reality.
I believe that what we will see instead is an escalated pattern of using his rhetorical skills to pretend that he is changing and to obfuscate what he is really doing; i.e., like a magician, Obama will use a sleight of hand to accomplish his agenda and maintain his denial about terrorism and terrorists; while he keeps you distracted with his (supposedly) brilliant speeches.
Psychological denial may be a very human trait that we humans are all capable of resorting to in extremis; but for the political left and its annointed ones, it is the very essence of their being. It has to be for them to be able to (dys)function at all.
Stephen Hicks in his book quotes Frank Lentricchia, a noted Duke University literary critic. Postmodernism, says Lentricchia, "seeks not to find the foundation or conditions of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change."
Postmodern rhetoric explicitly rejects truth, and because of this it is indifferent to consistency and dismissive of reason. In fact, Postmodernism is a perfect intellectual vehicle for the chronic denialist.
And make no mistake, Obama and the left are into chronic denial, particularly when it comes to terrorism. They are not only tone deaf, but are completely blind and intellectually impaired. For the last year they have been in charge, and almost every action shows that they are getting terrorism wrong, and placing America at higher and higher risk.