In May 2010, a determined but hapless jihadist tried and failed to set off a bomb on a busy Saturday night in Times Square. Looking back at that botched terrorist attack in the heart of midtown Manhattan, two things stand out -- the magnitude of the explosion had it been detonated, and Rachel Maddow's hand-wringing for the alleged Miranda rights of the suspected bomber.
I say "alleged" because there is a public safety exception to Miranda that was invoked by the FBI, just in case the accused was part of a wider plot and might be compelled to spill his guts and thereby prevent the slaughter of innocent people, instead of being promptly told upon his arrest that he could clam up and hide behind a lawyer.
All of this came to mind after watching Maddow on Friday night reporting on Mike Flynn pleading guilty to providing false information to the FBI. As she's done with tiresome repetition since President Trump took office, Maddow revisited Flynn's journey from Trump campaign advocate to national security adviser, focusing on his lobbying for the Turkish government.
MADDOW: During the transition, the transition knew about it. Congress notified the transition that Mike Flynn appeared to be on a foreign government payroll during the transition and Flynn himself and his attorneys told the transition that he was A, on a foreign payroll and B, in trouble for it, under investigation. And once again, the Trump transition appears to have just had no reaction to that information whatsoever, despite the fact they were in the process of installing him as national security adviser.
Flynn was "appointed" national security adviser. He was not "installed" as pope --
MADDOW: Your national security adviser is on a foreign payroll. Oh yeah? Huh (Maddow acting mock non-chalant). And then immediately after the inauguration, they got more alarming and intense and unusual warnings about Mike Flynn when the acting attorney general of the United States came to the White House in person, twice, to have detailed discussions with the White House counsel about the fact that national security adviser Mike Flynn was believed to be compromised by the Russian government, vulnerable to blackmail, and dishonest in an ongoing way about his covert communications with a foreign government.
I mean, if you found out information like that concerning somebody who is like working in the White House mailroom, you'd expect the White House version of a SWAT team to come in, grab that person by the armpits, and you never see them again after they ran them out the door, right?
"You'd expect" that, would you? Speak for yourself, comrade. Comes across as more than a tad authoritarian to these ears. It also sounds eerily familiar. When have I previously heard Maddow describe government agents roughly hauling a suspect into custody? What follows are two excerpts from her show on Jan. 26, 2017.
MADDOW: Novaya Gazeta reports today that in early December there was a high-level FSB meeting underway. Again, FSB is what the KGB became. It was a high-level FSB meeting underway, it was a regular meeting that included the deputy chief of the cyber unit of the FSB. That unit was called the Information Security Department (Center) of the FSB and the deputy chief of that unit was at that meeting sitting at a table when officers burst into the room, grabbed him, they grabbed the deputy chief of the cyber unit at the FSB, they grabbed him at this meeting in front of all the other people at the meeting. They put a bag over his head and they bodily dragged him out of the room. And that's the last time anybody's ever seen him. ...
I mean, imagine if the head of the cyber unit in the CIA or the FBI, sitting there in a meeting at the CIA or the FBI and officers come in, throw a bag over his head, drag him away and nobody hears about it for more than a month and nobody sees him since. But this dramatic thing that happened in Russia -- it's dramatic for Russia -- it may also be important for what's going on in our country right now.
"But this dramatic thing that happened in Russia" -- and according to Maddow, "you'd expect" something nearly identical to happen in this country, especially when the suspect is a high-level adviser to a loathed Republican politician. And when Maddow says "you'd expect," she doesn't mean you, dear reader, devoted as you are to due process and the rule of law. Maddow means what she and her comparably unhinged viewers would expect. Sigh, if only things could be like they are in Russia, which must otherwise be demonized on an hourly basis since Trump took office, which comes across as truly hilarious after leftists for decades swooned at the very mention of the Soviet Union.
If it were up to Maddow, Flynn would be publicly humiliated and disappear without a trace like an accused traitor in Putin's Russia -- while terrorists plotting mass murder are duly accorded the benefit of a doubt.