PowerLine - Scott has written about the fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas-day bomber, was interrogated by the FBI instead of the "High Value Detainee Interrogation Group." The creation of this Group -- the HIG -- was announced with some fanfare a year ago by President Obama who, having shut down the CIA's terrorist interrogation program, hoped to the counter the impression that he wasn't serious about protecting America.
Dennis Blair testified before Congress that Abdulmutallab should have been questioned by the HIG. He also stated that he was not consulted about this matter and that other important intelligence officials were not consulted either.
The notion that the FBI would interrogate a high value detainee like Abdulmutallab, rather than having the interrogation handled by a special group set up expressly for that purpose, is shocking -- so shocking that Blair slapped his head when he tesitifed about the HIG's lack of involvement. What is the purpose of a "High Value Detainee Interrogation Group" if not to question, or at least play a role in the handling, of a guy sent into the country by an emerging branch of al Qaeda with explosives in his underwear?
Blair's testimony seemed too bad to be true, and that turned out to be the case. But not because the HIG did, in fact, interrogate Abdulmutallab; rather, because the HIG does not actually exist as an operational entity.
Blair made this clear in what must rank as the among the most embarrassing "clarificatons" of congressional testimony ever. Blair was forced to amend his testimony to say that the FBI questioned Abdulmutallab using its "expertise in interrogation that will be available in the HIG once it is fully operational" (emphasis added).