Did the administration's quick pivot to criminal charges -- they were filed the next day -- interfere with investigators' ability to obtain maximum information from Abdulmutallab? What if other operatives had been deployed with similar devices? Wouldn't it have been better to thoroughly interrogate Abdulmutallab -- without offering Miranda warnings against self-incrimination, and without providing a lawyer whose first instruction was, no doubt, to stop talking?
Such questioning would not preempt criminal charges from being filed later. It would simply prevent prosecutors from using such statements, and information derived from them, in the criminal proceedings. If prosecutors can safely pursue a criminal case against alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed after 183 waterboardings, there's not much risk in questioning Abdulmutallab. Given the available proof -- the explosives he was carrying and the planeload of eyewitnesses -- any first-year law student could win this case.
Is that Rivkin and Casey? Nope. Charles Krauthammer? Guess again.
That is Ruth Marcus, resident leftier columnist at the WaPo.
Why are sprouts of common sense poking their heads all over through previously infertile soil? Is it the phase of the moon? Not likely. Even lunatics don't claim that last quarter is anything special. A previously unknown, indirect consequence of climate change? Political and social climate, maybe. It could be that the consequences of soft on crime (and terrorism) softheadedness are becoming so obvious that people previously in denial are coming out of it. Or maybe conservatives are so completely out of power that people who were previously afraid to admit that they are actually right about something can now write the truth.
P.S.: Before the excerpt quoted above, Ms. Marcus does get in the obligatory jab at former Veep Cheney. Some of the conventional proprieties must be observed, after all.