Blame-America Bob Herbert Broods: System 'Succumbing to Tyranny of Fear'

Here are the facts:

On 9/11, the occupants of a hotel right across from the WTC flee their rooms.  A hotel security guard informs the FBI that in the room-safe of an Egyptian hotel guest, he found an aviation radio.  The radio could be used to communicate with airborne pilots.

The Egyptian, Abdallah Higazy, who is attending college in the US, is arrested, and undergoes tough interrogation, including suggestions that his family could be subjected to investigation by Egyptian security.  After offering various implausible stories, the Egyptian admits that the radio is his and that he stole it from the Egyptian air force.  He is charged with lying to investigators.

A month later, an airline pilot who had been staying in the hotel returns, looking for his radio.  Turn out it was his.  The security guard who reported having found the radio in the Egyptian's room had lied to the FBI. It was apparently his twisted means of involving himself in the 9/11 story.

Higazy is freed, never having gone to trial, much less having been convicted of a crime.The security guard is charged with lying to the FBI, convicted and given a prison sentence. 

Sounds like the American legal system worked pretty well, doesn't it?  Not to Bob Herbert of the New York Times.  According to his column of this morning, The Tyranny of Fear [subscription required],

"All the authorities have to do nowadays is claim that a case is linked to terror and they can get away with just about anything. The rule of law is succumbing to the tyranny of fear."

Herbert wasn't done impugning American justice.  He muses ominously: "There’s no telling how many Abdallah Higazys have been swept up in the so-called war on terror and imprisoned, or worse."

Herbert's cagey construction: there's "no telling how many" similar cases exist, actually means that Herbert is unable to 'tell' of a single other such case.

But for Blame-America Bob and other like-minded liberals, even an example of our system of justice working well can be twisted into club with which to bash our country.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.