Thanks to an outbreak of reported-on reality, a beloved War On Terror talking point -- that the FBI's by-the-books interrogation of Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab was an example of counter-terror malpractice -- can now be considered fundamentally false. Here's Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller:
The family of the failed Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab, played a pivotal role in getting their son to start cooperating with federal authorities in sharing information about Al Qaeda, a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.
Abdulmuttalab has been cooperating with authorities and sharing intelligence since last Thursday, another administration official told ABC News.
The family was "instrumental in gaining Mr. Abdulmuttalab's cooperation," said the senior administration official. The information Abdulmuttalab is sharing has been described by other officials as fresh and actionable.
Here's where you score one for that whole "rule of law" thingy:
"One of the principal reasons why his family came back is because they had complete trust in the US system of justice and believed that Umar Farouq would be treated fairly and appropriately," the senior official said. "And that they would be as well."
The FBI and Abdulmuttalab's family approached the subject and "gained his cooperation. He has been cooperating for days," the official said.
Also, this is pretty delicious: "Abdulmuttalab was talking to FBI agents on Saturday, at the same time Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, issued the Republican response to the president's weekly address, decrying Abdulmuttalab's presence in the criminal justice system."
Sucks to be Susan Collins!
Over at The American Prospect, Adam Serwer has a lot more on how the particulars of the Abdulmutallab case actually help to deconstruct "several pro-torture, anti-due process myths" that have been injected into the discourse. The big takeaway: law enforcement officials can, do, and should play a vital role in counter-terror efforts, and that working within their Constitutional constraints doesn't inhibit their ability to keep us safe.
Nevertheless, I anticipate that this will continue to be one of those cases in which the media will continue to give significant latitude to a side in this debate that has been thoroughly discredited.
Obama Administration Secured Help of Abdulmuttalab's Family to Get Him to Share Intelligence [ABC News Political Punch]
Abdulmutallab Interrogation Explodes Six Central Torture Myths [TAPPED]
Ex-FBI Interrogator: McConnell and Co. 'Don't Know What They're Talking About' on Abdulmutallab [Washington Independent]