Monday, February 22, 2010

Criminal Approach to Terror Vindicated Yet Again

Remember that guy who was going to blow up the New York subway system last year? Well, despite the fact that conservatives would definitely claim that we will all die horrible deaths at the hands of brown bearded people since we didn't throw him in Gitmo immediately, he was arrested, Mirandized, given a lawyer, and has now pled guilty to terrorism-related charges.

But of course, there's no way to get terrorists to cooperate with the government without torture enhanced interrogation, right? Ummm...
The terms of the plea deal were sealed. A government source told CNN that the threat of legal action against Zazi's associates and family played a role in his decision to cooperate with the government.
Oh, so the legal system actually helped get him to plead guilty? OK, but I bet there's no way we could get useful information out of him without shredding the Constitution...
"This attempted attack on our homeland was real," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference praising the criminal justice system in foiling the plot. "It was in motion, and it would have been deadly."

He said "there is no doubt that American lives were saved" as a result of the investigation, adding that the case is "further evidence that al Qaeda continues to plan attacks on the United States."

Federal officials have said the conspiracy involving Zazi represents the most serious terrorism plot since 9/11, and the investigation is intense and ongoing.

Since Zazi's arrest last year, two of his acquaintances have been indicted in the case, as well as Zazi's father and uncle.
Zazi's father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, initially was charged with lying to investigators, but in January a federal grand jury in New York charged him with conspiracy to obstruct justice by helping to discard bomb-making chemicals when he learned of the government's investigation.

Najibullah Zazi's uncle, Naqib Jaji, was indicted on a single felony charge and was arraigned in a sealed proceeding in Brooklyn, New York, in January. The charge wasn't specified, but a source said the uncle participated in the attempt to dispose of evidence.
So our prosecution of Zazi led to other terrorists being discovered and arrested? Hmmm... got anything to say, Nelson?


Miguel said...

I will give the Obama administration some kudos for scaling back some of the Bush Polite State Doctrine. For once, I can believe that something has actually changed for the better, even if it is something small.

But the true test will come when they get to a not so open and shut case, and whether they can resist the temptation to simply end the trial and throw the person before an unconstitutional tribunal.

Ben said...

The Polite State? I kind of like my government workers to be polite. Has Obama introduced a new policy of rudeness?

Snark about typos aside, I would looooove to know how the likes of Scott Brown respond to this.

Jeff said...

It's a polite police state. Step right this way, sir, your indefinite detention cell is waiting. Oh, and we left a mint on the waterboard. Have a wonderful stay with us!

Miguel, I wouldn't be so sanguine about Obama trying terrorists being a "roll-back" of Bush-era excesses. Remember, Bush routinely tried and convicted terrorists like Richard Reid - some 300 in all, last I heard. Indeed, the criminal approach to terrorism has long been uncontroversial.

It's only with Obama's ascent to the presidency that Republicans smelled a vulnerability and begun to attack. Obama hasn't changed anything about Bush's policy in this regard - he's not giving other terror suspects their days in court, after all. Rather, it's that the Republican attack machine has seen the value in stoking public fears over terrorism.

Which is why, Ben, Scott Brown and his ilk could care less about what is actually occurring. The attacks on Obama and Holder for giving terrorists trials are based in politics, not policy.