are a military problem not a “law enforcement” problem. Now if they can just convince TheBoyPresident™.
The New York Times did a good piece on Andy McCarthy a couple of days ago. If you don’t know who Andy is, go read the article I can’t possibly do him justice here. I will just note that he was an official in the DoJ for years and prosecuted the blind sheik for his role in trying to blow up the WTC in the early ’90’s. He’s one of the very, very good guys.
A quote from the article says everything anybody would ever need to know about dealing with terrorists and terrorism. McCarthy is talking about the Clinton Justice Department here…
Mr. McCarthy said he understood why the [DoJ] pursued the prosecutions. “I mean that’s the ethos of the place is that you want to do the cutting-edge case.” But, looking back, he said, he questioned the focus, particularly given that Al Qaeda kept escalating its attacks. He cited the 2000 bombing of the destroyer Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 American servicemen, and Sept. 11.
“We [the DoJ] become headquarters for counterterrorism in the United States,” he said. “Not the C.I.A. Not anyplace in Washington. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.”
“From the country’s perspective,” he said, “it’s not a good thing.” A prosecutor’s job, he added, “is not the national security of the United States.”
In June 1998, the office secretly indicted Osama bin Laden. Three months later, Al Qaeda blew up the two embassies.
“I mean, we could go into the grand jury and indict him three times a week,” Mr. McCarthy said. “But to do anything about it, you needed the Marines. You didn’t need us.”
That’s a pretty clear statement from the guy who was at the top of the law enforcement heap, actually doing prosecutions of terrorists, and doing them successfully – at least from a criminal justice point of view. Let’s note here that even a “successful” prosecution has it’s limits. The blind sheik was convicted and is serving time basically in a secured housing unit – in isolation – in a federal pen. He still had access to his lawyer and she happily smuggled out correspondence from him to terrorist organizations. She was convicted and got a very light sentence, she should have been tried for treason and hung, but that’s another diary.
Andy McCarthy didn’t come to the conclusion that criminal prosecution was a fool’s errand just lately. Again, from the NYT article…
In a November 1998 essay for The Weekly Standard, he offered one of his earliest public pronouncements of where his thinking was going. “In the main, international terrorism is a military problem, not a criminal-justice issue,” he wrote.
You really should read the whole article, the New York Times has done an excellent job with this one, obviously even a broken clock is right twice a day. I’m waiting for the second time.
Mr. McCarthy, thank you for your service to our country and thank you especially for your clear thinking and honesty. I’ll wrap this diary up with an appropriate (at least I think it’s appropriate) Andy McCarthy quote about the defense bar working for terrorists…
“The country’s at war and they’re volunteering their services to the enemy,” Mr. McCarthy said of the lawyers.
Oh, and I don’t expect this is a lesson TheBoyPresident™ will assimilate or even wants to hear.