Once again, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow can't let a week pass without denigrating former vice president Dick Cheney, the better to shift attention from Obama's beleagured presidency.
Here's Maddow on her cable show Sept. 8, relaying news of British intelligence officials apparently still chagrined at Cheney for forcing their hand to arrest suspects in the '06 airline bombing plot before they were prepared to do so --
MADDOW: This supposed attack plot involved using soft-drink bottles to bring onto airplanes homemade, hydrogen peroxide-based bombs. Back in 2006, British police were all over this plot. They had more than 200 people under 24-hour, seven-days-a-week surveillance. According to the assistant commissioner for special operations at the metropolitan police in London, who wrote about the investigation in The Times of London today, 'Key suspects in the airline plot were under intensive surveillance. We logged every item they bought, we sifted every piece of rubbish they threw away (at their homes or in litterbins). We filmed and listened to them; we broke into their homes and cars to plant bugs and searched their luggage when they passed through airports. We watched as they experimented with turning soft drinks containers into bottle bombs. We listened as they recorded martyrdom videos.'
But what the British police hadn't yet done was arrest these guys. They wanted to suss out as much of this terrorist network as they could and they wanted to ensure they had enough evidence to get convictions of as many of these key players as possible on the most serious charges they could get them convicted on.
But according to British intelligence officials who apparently feel free to talk about this case now, now that the men have been convicted, the Brits had their hand forced on these arrests, when then-vice president Dick Cheney allegedly ordered the early arrest of the bombing suspects' point man in Pakistan. The US was apparently prepared to kidnap this man in Pakistan and fly him out of the country to a secret prison for interrogation if the Pakistanis didn't arrest him themselves.
The Pakistanis did arrest him themselves, the Brits were not notified of the Pakistani arrest. That arrest would have tipped off the suspects in Britain that their plot had been found out. And so, because of that arrest, because of the alleged US actions to cause that arrest, before the British investigation was complete, before British law enforcement had exploited that known terrorist cell to its best counter-terrorism purposes, they were forced to act early, prematurely ...
... before any planes actually exploded.
Notice how Maddow refers to the conspiracy she describes here, whose existence was irrefutable -- "this supposed attack plot." Even after terrorists are convicted, Maddow presumes their innocence, in a way she's incapable of extending to Cheney and other Bush junta hooligans.
If this doesn't get Maddow named honorary member of the Al Qaeda Defense Fund, such an accolade is long overdue.
Maddow would have a leg to stand on had the allegedly "premature" arrests set in motion other terrorist plots that weren't stopped. But three years and counting since the '06 conspiracy was thwarted, this doesn't appear to be the case.
In Maddow's worldview, it would have been better to wait until the "supposed" 2006 plot was imminent, rather than risk trampling on terrorists' rights and saving lives in the process. But at what point on 9/11 was it obvious we were under attack? When the second plane hit the World Trade Center. In other words, too late to stop the onslaught.
"Give it Arrest" reads a caption behind Maddow during the segment. Not bad advice if she'd follow it.
Count me among those who consider it more important to prevent terrorist attacks in the first place than amassing a mountain of evidence to put jihadists in prison.