December 30, 2009

As Josh Marshall pointed out Tom Ridge shows himself just to be another partisan hack. A little consistency please Mr. Ridge?

Remember, the AbdulMutallab case is virtually identical to the Richard Reid "Shoe Bomber" case from December 2001 -- to an uncanny degree. Same explosive, (PETN), same MO (blowing up an airliner bound for the US), same failed attempt.

It's really about as close to identical cases and you get. And, of course, Reid was tried in civilian courts and is now serving a life sentence. Seemed to work fine in his case. And unless I'm misremembering, I don't remember anybody criticizing this approach at the time.

Transcript via CNN.

KING: All right, Tom, we have bodies, we can examine bodies. We can see through clothing. We certainly beefed up security everywhere. We've got watch list, are we safer?

RIDGE: I think clearly we're safer, but it's also equally clear, given the several incidents that have occurred just in the past couple of months in this country, that we still have very serious gaps in information sharing, and we've learned given this recent incident that these are individuals who are fairly strategic in their thinking, they're very patient.

We have a long, long way to go. We're going to be at this for a long, long time for a generation or two. I'm concerned over years we've lost a sense of urgency. We're not paying attention to minutia, the details absolutely critical in making an assessment as to whether somebody should be on a plane or not. It's not about profiling.

It's about taking a looking at very important, critical pieces of information and making sure they're shared with the decision-makers. I'm afraid some of the events over the past couple months have suggested that that old paradigm, the need to know, has maybe been receded in some of these organizations. Because it doesn't appear to me that there's a willingness to share that kind of information that we need to make America as safe as we want it to be. They're shared responsibility for this across the board.

KING: Isn't it human nature if you have a heart attack, it's a terrible first week, second week, third week. If you feel good a year later, you don't think as much about taking care.

RIDGE: That's all right if you're an individual citizen taking care of -- and you want to pay little or less attention to your own welfare, but professionals have responsibilities to be vigilant 24/7. We have a responsibility not only for the Department of Homeland Security but all the multiple agencies across the federal government to be as sensitive to the possibility of a terrorist attack today, tomorrow, and in the future as we were on September 12th, 2001. We're not as sensitive, we don't have that sense of urgency, and it's time to recommit ourselves to it.

KING: What do you make of the information that two former Gitmo detainees. Men released during the Bush administration are among the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the same group claiming responsibility for the Christmas day thwarted attack? What do you make of that?

RIDGE: Well, I'm not surprised. We know we released some people from Guantanamo that we ended up killing on the battlefields over in that region. So I guess again it's a symptom of a larger challenge that this country had and that is how do you adjudicate the individuals that we pick up from these places, and make a determination as to whether or not they should incarcerated for a long time if not permanently.

I've said these many times before. I never thought the issue was Guantanamo because some of these people should be incarcerated forever. I'm not surprise that it happened, and we have to remind ourselves that the process and again, I take a look at this individual who has been charged criminally, does that mean he's going to get his Miranda warnings?

Does that mean the only kind of information we want to get from him is if he volunteers it. He's not a citizen of this country. He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States.

KING: You miss being in the hunt?

RIDGE: I miss working with the extraordinary group of men and women who helped me build the department. Frankly, I do miss not knowing. You asked me some questions. I wish I could provide you a little more specific information if it was possible to do so without violating confidences. I stay in touch with a lot of good people who continue to work hard to make America safe.

KING: And we'll keep constantly in touch with you. Good seeing you again, Governor.

RIDGE: Thanks for joining you as well. Thanks very much.

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