February 11th, 2010
07:10 PM ET
12 years ago

White House, Republican spar over handling of terrorism suspect

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/11/art.brennan.file.gi.jpg caption="Robert Gibbs defended Obama adviser John Brennan on Thursday."]Washington (CNN) - The war of words between the Obama administration and Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, flared up again Thursday over the administration's handling of alleged Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab.

At issue is the decision to inform AbdulMutallab of his Miranda rights, including his right to remain silent, following his arrest and initial interrogation by the FBI and the administration's decision to try him in a civilian criminal court rather than a military tribunal.

Related: Holder defends decision on Christmas bomber

Both moves have sparked debate, especially after the White House revealed last week that AbdulMutallab is again talking to investigators after a period of silence.

On Tuesday, Sen. Bond, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for the resignation of Obama homeland security and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, saying Brennan "needs to go," and is no longer "credible."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended Brennan Thursday saying, "I would suggest whether it's to Senator Bond or others on Capitol Hill that these are decisions best left to people that have an understanding of counterterrorism, experience in counterterrorism and law enforcement rather than the politicians on Capitol Hill."

Both the White House and Bond have accused the other of playing politics with battling terrorism.

"John Brennan is supposed to be one of the President's top National Security Advisers – but instead he's acting like a political mouthpiece," Bond said Thursday in a statement to CNN. "My real beef is with this Administration's terror-fighting policies. I'm concerned they have moved us back to a pre-9/11 mentality where we treat terrorism like a law enforcement issue. That failed in the past, and it will fail again."

Filed under: John Brennan • Kit Bond • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. ib

    This president just doesn't get when it comes to the war on terror. He is to busy out campaigning to realize what a threat we are facing. And no it's not Bush's fault either.

    February 11, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. GOPer

    Dear Mr. Kit Bond – Please stop going on talk shows and slamming Obama over the exact same policy you supported in the Bush administration.

    You are not doing yourself any favors and in the process and furthermore, you are making the GOP look foolish in the eyes of an educated electorate who know BS when they hear it. Please don't lower yourself to the same standard of Karl Rove and Fox News.

    Thank You

    February 11, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. RogerD

    When will Mr. Gibbs get it... We don't believe anything he utters we only tune in for the comedic value.... he's tied with Joe for "the gift that keeps giving" award.

    February 11, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Jimmy James

    Obama and his cabinet are back peddling. 2 days after the incident Gibbs said they got all the intelligence that he had to offer before he was mirandized. Now 6 weeks later Gibbs says they are getting good intel from the interrogations. Which is it? Obama said the terrorist acted alone 1 day after the attempt. Now he is a terrorist with vast knowledge of the workings of Al Qaeda. Which is it? They mention this is no different than Richard Reid getting arrested. Today Gibbs says you can't compare the 2. Reid was in Dec 01, No military tribunals or even Gitmo existed as a tool yet. Reid was a British citizen. Reid plead guilty and in fact was never tried.

    Why did they mirandize this guy? You had a unexploded bomb. 200 witnesses. You didn't need a statement under Miranda to convict this guy. A 1st year law student could convict him.

    This is all a smokescreen to shield that they screwed up.

    February 11, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Too bad Bond was clueless about Bush's terror fighting policies that the current administration is using. Bond needs to get back to Missouri and have his picture taken with the counties receiving stimulus checks and take credit for the jobs being created.

    February 11, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    After listening to the idiotic senator from Missouri, you can only conclude that Bond is not very smart.

    February 11, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. annie against biased news

    That leaves gibbey and obama out!

    February 11, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Big-K

    Repug Bonds is calling for Mr Brennan firing because he took away his lying,oops, I mean his terrorist talking point and exposed again his total hateful hypocracy.

    February 11, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Get it right

    Unfortunately for Obama and Holder, the republicans are correct.

    February 11, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Paul Illinois

    Kit Bond – Senator since 1986, isn't 24 years of pillaging the money out of social security enough for us to wonder about hsi credibility on any topic.

    February 11, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. Tino

    This is what politicians do to gain votes but most of them forget about the people who are on the front line fighting to keep this country safe. All the terrorist are laughing at us going at each other while they plan the next attack. Do anyone remember when we kept the politicians from helping to plan the first Gulf War, we won the war, and now that the ploticians are envolve in the current two wars, the wars have lasted over five years. Politicians from both sides need to let the experience people do their job.

    February 11, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Castillo

    Americans know that the liberals are "softies" when it comes to terrorism. Period. End of story.

    February 11, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. dustin

    Which of the bush officials did bond demand to resign over the bush admin trying terrorists in civilian courts?

    February 11, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Carmelle

    Yeah....now the republicans are doubting the intelligence community? I thought that was unAmerican....bunch of hyprocrites.

    Those are the kind of tricks that republicans pull and you have to wonder why are they all of a sudden against it, when they were for it before? It was never said to be a mistake when Bush did those things, but now that Obama is doing the exact same thing, it"uh,uh, it's different time, it was mistake by Bush to do that? So if Bush made all those mistakes, how did it keep America safe like you always claim?...IMO, it's ok when the White man does it, but not ok when it's the Black guy.

    I don't like to use race in issues, but WTH else could it be for crying out loud!!!???

    February 11, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. CAW in MD

    Kit Bond is wrong on this one. Basically, his argument is a foreign national tried to blow up a jet, so he's an enemy combatant. Who is "the enemy"? It's not Nigerians, otherwise we'd have started a war in Nigeria. It's not Muslims, because certainly 1.3 billion of them can't all be enemy combatants (although God knows we seem to be trying to start a war in every single Muslim country). It can't be terrorists, because terrorism is a tactic. It's like saying you're at war with withering cross fire.

    What if a foreign national throws a rock at a plane? Is he an enemy combatant? What if the rock hits somebody on the plane? It sounds ridiculous, but only because the assertion that everybody who tries to blow up an airplane is an enemy combatant is that ridiculous.

    Terrorism is a law enforcement issue. If Iraq and Afghanistan haven't taught us that much, then we really are stupid.

    February 11, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Security

    In the name of national security, this whole administration needs to resign. The terrorist need to be treated like a terrorist, he gave up any rights he had when he tried to murder innocent women and kids.Takes a real man to try and do something like that, huh.Stick some bamboo under his nails, he'll sing then.

    February 11, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. aware

    Sit down and button up Brennan! Americans don't trust this lying administration! 🙁

    February 11, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. once upon a horse

    when is the Obama administration going to learn the GOP's new saying..."That was then...this is NOW"?? What applies to President Bush does NOT apply to President Obama..why is that so hard for people to figure out.

    February 11, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Reggie from LA

    I apparently need a little help on this one. A terrorist act implies that there should be a military tribunal, automatically? Does it matter how the terrorist is trained? In Yemen? On the internet? Did he have on some uniform that implied a military or paramilitary affiliation. It was a commercial aircraft under FAA control. It's federal. Let it be tried as a federal offense and quit being opportunistic obstructionists. How tiring this has become. A complete and utter bore. Be relevant.. Do something of real substance. Pass a bill that has some meaning to the American people. You can do it...I think.

    February 11, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. independent

    Republicans seem to think that 9/11 changed America, its constitution and the principles by which we live.

    We do not torture. We allow people their unalienable rights.
    Senator Bond, do you know what unalienable means?

    February 11, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. John in Tampa

    Kit Bond may be the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, but that does not mean he knows anything. Coming from any Republican these days, I'm pretty confident he's just obfuscating and trying to embarass the President. Why don't you go slap a hold on some nominee, Sir, now that Shelby's been embarassed into releasing the 70 he was holding up?.

    February 11, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. TexEcon

    Gibbs is accusing Senator Bond of being a politician with no understanding of law enforcement? Goodness ! Perhaps Gibbs forgot that Senator Bond used to be Attorney General of Missouri.

    February 11, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. Sadie

    These are the Old men of the GOP that needs to be sent home......preferrably an OLD FOLKS HOME.......but they think they have all the right answers for everything........but never questioned the Commander in Chief Bush when he was running this country into a DEEP HOLE

    February 11, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. Cindy

    I'd say every grandstanding politician on the Hill, be they Democrat or Republican.. lose their jobs come next election.

    How dare they play politics grandstanding and demanding resignations of individuals who are tending to serious work that needs to be done?

    Senator Bond, enough already! You need to stick to doing your job of getting the Hill working together again, or just resign already!

    February 11, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. jules sand-perkins

    John Brennan IS no longer credible: he does need to go.
    From Robert Gibbs's response, he is also no longer credible, and he too needs to go.
    How can we have a WH press secretary who is not credible?

    February 11, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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