It is a mystery why the Department of Justice has not learned the lesson that terrorists are best tracked down through good police work brought to bear on specific illegal acts, rather than by vast fishing expeditions. After Sept. 11, the DOJ called thousands of Muslim men in the United States for what it termed voluntary interviews. Not a single terrorist was identified in this manner, though a handful of the interviewees ended up being deported for minor visa offenses.
Shucks, imagine that ... not a single one! With all them A-rab terraists, you'd a thunk at least ONE of them woulda been one.
The fiasco of the prosecution of the Detroit Four should also have been instructive ... The prosecution alleged that innocent vacation videotapes of places such as Disneyland found in the apartment were part of a terror plot, and that vague doodles in a notebook depicted targets abroad such as a Jordanian hospital and Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey. The prosecution relied heavily on an Arab-American informer who might reduce his own prison sentence for various acts of criminal fraud if a conviction were obtained, and whose testimony against the four suspects evolved dramatically over time. The initial conviction of two of the men, Karim Koubriti and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi on charges of giving material support to terrorism, which was hailed as an achievement by the Bush administration, was overturned when the prosecution was discovered to have withheld key exculpatory evidence.
Those who believe they can "create their own reality" and have the power to make their subordinates jump through hoops, those masters of the universe, have a rather unique take on their ability to "communicate and sell" their ideas (Andy Card - from a marketing perspective, you don't bring out a new product in August). The following comments from Newt the Grinch Gingrich (Dr. Newt, no less) from an April 22, 2003 American Enterprise Institute "black coffee briefing on the war in Iraq" indicates a lot of ... confidence in the ability of proper "communication" (I think he means propaganda) to sway opinion.
DR. GINGRICH: First of all, as you point out, I did suggest to you that having 95 percent of the Turkish people in a poll oppose our policies, one would normally assume it was either a sign that we were totally out of touch with the world, which is I think the interpretation of some people, or a sign that we had dramatically failed to communicate anything.
Look. What we have here is a failure to communicate?
I think with a reasonable communications plan, that would have been in the 35- or 40-percent approval level. It may not have been a majority, but we would have a substantial minority of the Turkish people who said, yeah, this is the right thing to do for the people next door who are suffering from torture, and who are connected to terrorism, and who are doing things that are harmful, in the long run, to Turkey.
In other words, the State Department didn't do its job, otherwise way more than 5% of the Turkish population would have support the U.S. war on Iraq.
Back to the Juan Cole writing about the Detroit four:
In a startling reversal, two members of the prosecuting team were tried for criminal misconduct, and although they were acquitted, their misconduct was not in question. A Detroit judge even apologized to a third man, who was held for three and a half years on a minor fraud charge and then deported.
Prosecutorial misconduct. That's what it takes for the Bush administration to have an achievement. Aided and abbetted by lawyers, by Supreme Court Justices. A legacy.