Abdulmutallab Cooperating in Airline Failed Bomb Case

This should be no surprise. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is continuing to cooperate and provide information on the failed Christmas Day airline bomb plot. His lawyer is facilitating the negotiations. This is what often happens in criminal cases when a probable life sentence is on the table. Or, in the case of accused Mumbai co-conspirator David Coleman Headley, a death sentence.

All those Miranda fears are for naught. Criminal defendants get lawyers. Lawyers review the evidence. If the case is strong and the evidence likely to be ruled admissible, they consider plea bargains that involve cooperation. It happens daily in courtrooms across America. Terror cases are no different. What throws a wrench into the works is when law enforecment officers fail to abide by the rules and violate a suspect's rights. Then evidence can be thrown out and there's less incentive to make a deal. If they just followed the rules, it would be so much better for everyone.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Great post (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 05:34:52 PM EST

    thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 05:39:24 PM EST
    Examine your premise (2.00 / 0) (#9)
    by diogenes on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 10:35:45 PM EST
    If terrorists are tried in civilian courts, then not Mirandizing them leads to having evidence thrown out and creates all kinds of problems, as you say.  Of course, in this particular case "res ipsa loquitor", as I think you lawyers say. I don't think that his own confessions really add anything to the case that one hundred witnesses can't testify to.
    If terrorists were to be tried in front of a military tribunal where Miranda were a non-issue, then the person would still have a motivation to cooperate because ALL the evidence would count (no matter what), and the person would have even more motivation to cop a plea because he would know that there would be a much smaller chance of some sort of rogue OJ type jury ignoring overwhelming evidence.

    And how many "rogue juries" (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 11:27:39 PM EST
    do you think you could find, if you tried real hard, in the U.S. that would ignore the evidence for somebody who was caught in the act of trying to blow up an airplane, hmmmm?

    Try harder for an excuse, please.


    His confession is not needed (none / 0) (#16)
    by diogenes on Fri Feb 05, 2010 at 07:46:30 PM EST
    If the conviction is so sure, then the police can give up Mirandizing him (it is a right allowing him to not give evidence against himself) if the police think that perhaps in the heat of the moment he might say something useful (e.g. whether there were more suicide attacks in the air, as on 9/11, or whether this was a lone bomber).

    "If they just followed the rules" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Zorba on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 05:43:11 PM EST
    How true, Jeralyn, how true, and it applies, not just to suspects, but to every kind of law enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation.  If they would all just read the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings, and abide by them..........well, a gal can dream, can't she?

    How cool would it be... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 05:57:37 PM EST
    if this kid's cooperation led to busting up the AQAP nutjob org the right way with the help of Yemeni authorities, everybody got their day in court...and just maybe there was a hairs less violence in the world.  

    A great in your face to the "screw principles!" crew and something to hang your hat on in an otherwise same ol' sh*t Obama term.


    On a related note, do you think (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 06:04:27 PM EST
    that a fair KSM trial will lead to a large part of the evidence being thrown out because it was obtained through torture? The DOJ must be confident in their case, but I was wondering about this point.

    Personally, if I were on the jury and the government did not prove its case against KSM, I would certainly acquit. I look forward to seeing actual evidence towards guilt adduced.

    The government, as I remember reading (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Peter G on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 07:05:53 PM EST
    the prior info on KSM's prosecution, does not even intend to offer that evidence.  They can't afford to bring into the public eye the testimony that would have to be presented at the suppression hearing.  Apparently, the Dept of Justice believes it has a locked-down case without using against KSM any of the "evidence" they got from him.

    Gov. can't prove case because he was set up (1.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 06:55:18 PM EST

    Maybe the government will fess up and admit that
    they set up the young man accused, but when was the last time they acknowledged setting up someone to be a Patsy for a covert intelligence operation?

    Osama?  Nope.  He may be still known in certain company as gw's favorite PetScapeGoat, but the official portrait(s) of him still frame him...
    as the evil genius who single-handedly defeated the entire U.S. national security defense.

    No trial, no harm to the U.S., no foul, no ambulance.  Off to the Graybar and he probably was so compartmentalized that he couldn't say how they framed him even if he was brave/crazy enough to even try.  Besides, who HERE would believe him
    after all the demonizing is complete?


    Um, do you know who KSM is? (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by ruffian on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 07:36:34 PM EST
    I ask because you refer to him as a 'young man'. Even if all the rest of what you say is true, that description leads me to think you are talking about someone else.

    I think (none / 0) (#12)
    by weltec2 on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:41:11 AM EST
    you're confused.

    Love your last sentence (none / 0) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 11:28:23 PM EST

    A call for some informed speculation (none / 0) (#13)
    by Peter G on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 10:46:07 AM EST
    Ordinarily, the fact that someone is "cooperating" is kept as secret as possible.  Who would have a motive to leak this information, TL, and what is that motive, do you suppose?

    Dana Perino & Bill Burck (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:19:08 AM EST
    agree with you over at The Corner, although probably for different reasons than you think:

    The Saga of Abdulmutallab, Underwear Bomber


    But even worse is that someone in the administration is leaking this at all. How does it further our national-security interests to tell Abdulmutallab's fellow terrorists overseas that he is informing on them? What would you do if you were one of those fellow terrorists? If you hadn't already gone to ground, you sure would do so now.

    If the administration believed it was important to reassure Congress that Abdulmutallab was cooperating, they should have done so in private in closed session with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. This kind of sensitive information is shared all the time in that way. It is bad practice to tell the world that a terrorist has agreed to spill the beans on his fellow terrorists who are still walking around free overseas. That is, of course, unless the principal motivation is to try to save political hides at home, even at the expense of actually finding the terrorists Abdulmutallab worked with.

    It will be interesting to find out what kind of deal Abdulmutallab has received in exchange for his "cooperation." Less prison time? A room with a view? Who knows?

    Good point Jeralyn; (none / 0) (#15)
    by Andy08 on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 05:14:46 PM EST
    well said as well.