Given Congressman Hoekstra’s record of partisan pandering and attempts to personally profit from potential tragedy, I assumed his latest comments about the FBI’s handling of Flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab were simply attempts to score political points.
As you recall, his immediate reaction to the failed terrorist attack was to send a letter to his supporters and ask them for money. This was distasteful, to say the least, but we’ve grown accustomed to such behavior from the Congressman.
But what’s more disconcerting about Hoeskstra’s comments this week are his apparent disregard for the United States Constitution and his inconsistencies with respect to criticism.
Here’s the back story: Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security & Counterterrorism John Brennan went on Meet the Press last Sunday (February 7) and essentially scolded politicians like Hoekstra for using National Security issues like terrorism as a “political football”. “They are going out there…they’re unknowing of the facts, and they’re making charges and allegations that are not anchored in reality”, Brennan said to David Gregory on MTP. Brennan added, “On Christmas night, I called a number of senior Members of Congress. I spoke to Senators (Mitch) McConnell and (Christopher “Kit”) Bond. I spoke to Representative (John) Boehner and Hoekstra. I explained to them that he was in FBI custody, that Mr. Abdulmutallab was, in fact, talking, that he was cooperating at that point…They knew that in FBI custody means that there’s a process that you follow as far as Mirandizing and presenting him in front of a magistrate. None of those individuals raised any concerns with me at that point. They didn’t say, ‘is he going into military custody? Is he going to be Mirandized?’. They were very appreciate of the information, I told them we’d keep them informed, and that’s what we did.”
How does Hoekstra respond? With a phone interview on Fox stating “that no where along in the process did he tell us this is what we’re going to do with Farouk, uhhh, you know, with the Christmas Day bomber….No where did he get into any kind of detail.”
Any American who watches legal or police dramas on TV knows when you’re brought into custody in the United States, you’re read your Miranda Rights — you know, “You have the right to remain silent. … You have the right to an attorney, etc.”
So here’s my question: Is Hoekstra, who’s been in Congress for nearly 18 years, and is the ranking Republican Member of the House Intelligence Committee, saying that he didn’t know Abdulmutallab would be read his Miranda rights? Or is he saying that the US Constitution should be the law of the land only when it’s convenient? (Neither is acceptable.)
In another Fox interview, Hoekstra called Brennan’s comments “totally irresponsible” and suggested President Obama fire Brennan. “(Obama’s) leadership is trying to form a bi-partisan relationship with Congress — at least his professionals are. This guy (Brennan) is poisoning the well. I think the President probably should fire this guy because he’s off base and inconsistent with how national security should be dealt with.”
Inconsistent? You want inconsistent? Where was this complaint in 2001 during the George W. Bush administration when the FBI followed the exact same process with the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, just before Christmas in 2001?
Following Congressman Hoekstra’s unsavory efforts to raise money off the back of a terrorist attempt, we really shouldn’t be surprised at his behavior and public comments that followed, but we can and should make efforts to hold Hoekstra accountable. He is, after all, a direct reflection on Michigan and is running for Governor of the State.
Michigan can, and must, do better!