04/09/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

John Podesta: GOP Criticism Of FBI 'Unconscionable'

Democratic operative John Podesta on Sunday offered one of the most stinging rebukes yet of Republican claims that law enforcement agents mishandled their investigation of the Christmas Day bomb plot.

Podesta, the former White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration called it "unconscionable" for GOP leaders to "attack the FBI for their conduct" in the underwear bomber case. Podesta's comments appeared to be in refernce to remarks made recently by Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who declared that CNN softball interviewer Larry King would have done a "better" job interrogating Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

"They did interrogate him before they put him under for an operation to deal with his wounds," Podesta said, during a roundtable on ABC's "This Week." "And when he came out, the FBI had said -- the intelligence committee could go into this --- the FBI said he decided he wasn't going to talk anymore and at that point they gave him his Miranda warnings. It's a question of how long do you go on for? I think that's a question of judgment.... I tend to listen to the professionals and other people tend to listen to Governor Palin."

Podesta, who heads the left-leaning think tank, the Center for American Progress and is a close adviser to President Obama, didn't stop there. He also took swipes at Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) who put a blanket hold on 70 presidential nominees -- including two high-level intelligence officials -- because he was angry with the state of a tanker contract for his home state.

"I mean what gives," Podesta asked." Are these people serious? Or are they just playing politics?"

His co-panelist, Bloomberg's Al Hunt, did his best to provide an unvarnished answer.

"Senator Shelby is totally fraudulent on this to being with," Hunt said. "He was concerned about pork for his home state of Alabama. This is as bad as the Nebraska carve out. It is outrageous what he did. I think it's an abuse of senatorial prerogative."