Abdulmutallab: enemy combatant or criminal?

Abdulmutallab was charged as a civilian criminal rather than an enemy combatant, which would have subjected him to a military tribune, not a civilian trial.

GOP lawmakers are eager to know who decided to make Abdulmutallab into a criminal rather than an enemy combatant. In a memo to the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) writes, “We are writing to ask who within the Department of Justice made the decision on Christmas Day to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect, entitled to Miranda warnings and the right to counsel, rather than as an unprivileged enemy belligerent subject to military detention and a full opportunity to gain intelligence.”

GOP wants Napolitano fired

Congressman Mike Hoffman (R-Colo) joined 10 other Republicans on Capitol Hill to request the removal of Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary on the heels of the Abdulmutallab attack on Christmas Day.

“There should be no tolerance for her lack of leadership,” the letter from the lawmakers read. “…it is imperative that you dismiss her immediately.”

Learning airport security lessons from the Christmas Day plot and 9/11

This editorial claims that despite the changes that have been made to airport security since 9/11, an effective system has yet to be developed.

The writer lauds Israeli airport security, which focuses on human guards who conduct face to face interviews with suspiciously-behaving people. A question on outdated CIA intelligence practices is also explored.

Detroit was chosen at random

Abdulmutallab and al-Qaida apparently chose to attack Detroit at random, a White House intelligence briefing revealed last week. “There is no evidence that Detroit was systematically targeted. It was just one of several options the bomber suspect had,” says Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton).

Congressional hearings on the Abdulmutallab Christmas Day plot will begin next week, with a focus on preventing the next attack.

After Fort Hood, the Christmas Day plot and others, terrorism is Obama’s newest political minefield

Critics say Obama’s response to the Christmas Day plot by Abdulmutallab was late and trepid, and analysts believe terrorism has become the Democrats’ and Obama’s central political vulnerability.

A senior GOP strategist says the current focus on national security is a challenge for the administration because terrorists are so unpredictable. “It’s driven by events,” he says, “and there’s a lot of volatility among voters. The issue rises or dissipates depending on whether there are other attacks. The biggest problem for the president is under­reacting versus overreacting.”

German Muslims call mosque ID checks “humiliating”

While many Western countries have increased their security measures after the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, in some parts, such as in Lower Saxony in Germany, heavy monitoring of mosques and Muslim-frequented cafes is standard police procedure. For years this policy has increasingly outraged German Muslims while failing to yield a single terrorism-related arrest.

In Lower Saxony, Muslim worshippers heading to Friday services routinely arrive to find the street in front of the mosque cordoned off and armed police at the entrance. Those entering or leaving the mosque must show their identification papers. Sometimes the police search bags, ask questions, or bring those who cannot show ID to the precinct station. In one city, officers stamped Muslims on the arm after checking them.

In these controls, known as “unmotivated mosque checks,” the police are not seeking any specific person or investigating any particular crime. Rather, they are acting under a 2003 state law that empowers them to question and search individuals in public places regardless of any suspicion of wrongdoing in the interest of preventing crimes of “grave and international concern.”

Human rights concerns kept MI5 from passing on information about Abdulmutallab

MI5 failed to alert US intelligence about the extremist links of the Detroit plane bomber because of concerns about breaching his human rights and privacy. The spy agency withheld its files on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from Washington until after the near-catastrophic Christmas Day attack because of guidance from its legal department.

Asked why the information had not been passed to the US, a Home Office official said the security service did not pass information to its allies about the thousands of Britons who were merely suspected of having radical Islamic views. It did so only after it classified individuals as progressing into the much smaller category of “violent extremists”, a term used by MI5 to define potential or actual terrorists.

Abdulmutallab may have met with al-Awlaki, radical American-Yemeni cleric implicated in Hasan case

In the weeks leading up to the Christmas Day attack, Yemen has stated in its fullest disclosure of contact between al-Qaida and Abdulmutallab that he trained with al-Qaida operatives in lawless mountainous regions, and may have met with Anwar al-Awlaki, radical American-Yemeni cleric associated with Major Hasan.

The government also claims he received the explosives for the attack in Nigeria.