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Should we be waterboarding Abdulmutallab?

A new partisan criticism of President Obama's handling of the Christmas Day near attack concerns the decision to try Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in federal court. "If we had treated this Christmas Day bomber as a terrorist, he would have immediately been interrogated military-style, rather than given the rights of an American and lawyers," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told CNN. "We probably lost valuable information." But John Brennan, Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, downplayed the impact of allowing Abdulmutallab to lawyer up. "We have different ways of obtaining information from individuals" in the criminal-justice process, Brennan told NBC. New York Daily News columnist James Kirchick suggested that with a "real, live al-Qaida operative" in hand, this was no time to be shy about waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques." Kirchick wrote: "As the situation now stands, with an untold number of plots in the works, treating this man as a criminal defendant requires us to count upon the discretion and good will of a would-be mass murderer."

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