Good job, law enforcement
Two men are accused of conspiring to murder Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir.
October 11th, 2011
04:25 PM ET

Good job, law enforcement

Editor's Note: Juliette Kayyem is a former Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government and a foreign policy columnist for the Boston Globe. She tweets @JulietteKayyem.

By Juliette Kayyem - Special to CNN

The announcement today by Attorney General Eric Holder of the thwarted assassination attempt of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States by suspected Iranian agents is mesmerizing. It does seem like a John Le Carre movie: the drug dealers and informants, the Mexico connection, the money crossing borders and bank accounts, the restaurant where the
Ambassador liked to hang out.

I have been in government long enough to say almost nothing about an unfolding case. I have a lot of confidence in Holder's team but unless or until you know the evidence, better to be quiet. But an irony that cannot be ignored is this: As our strongest law enforcement agency was using investigative techniques, the judicial system and good old fashion rule of law, Congress was at the same exact time considering controversial detainee provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would - yes, the irony is deep - remove civilian courts and law enforcement from most counterterrorism efforts.

To say that a bipartisan group of counterterrorism and military efforts (the irony gets better; the military doesn't want this authority, and Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson testified to that effect today) finds this a very dangerous power is an understatement.

And, presumably, as Holder showed today, absolutely unnecessary. Whether the Iranian government is in fact involved, whether this is a rogue defendant or a rogue faction, does anybody actually think that the military could have - or would have - done this better? If there is any testimony to convince a Senate that seems intent on using the military where it ought not to reign, it might have just been a continuous loop of Holder's press conference.

Or, perhaps, they could have moved the Senate hearing to Detroit, where - as the National Security Network reminds us - "underwear" bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab began his trial in, yes, a civilian court.

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Topics: Iran • Law • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. American

    Presstv: Iran complains to UN over US claim.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:52 am | Reply
  2. Onesmallvoice

    Yes, this government does do a very good job at fooling the people. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time!". The Obama administration believes, however, that you can fool most of the people most of the time and sadly enough, that's proving to be true as most people seem to be falling for this phoney government story about this Iranian plot!!!

    October 12, 2011 at 11:32 am | Reply
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