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Sean “Liberals Embolden The Enemy” Hannity Suddenly A Free Speech Advocate – Now That He Can Use It As Another Excuse To Attack The Obama Administration

Reported by Ellen - February 10, 2010 -

Maybe Sean Hannity forgot his relentless attacks on George W. Bush critics as, essentially, traitors but we have not. You could hardly watch Hannity & Colmes without Ol’ Bullyboy accusing Democrats and/or the left of "emboldening our enemies" and "undermin(ing) troop morale." Hannity kept it up even after three military commanders told him otherwise. But now that Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan has warned that “politically motivated criticsm and unfounded fear mongering only serve the goals of Al Qaeda,” Hannity has developed a new found appreciation for dissent (even in a "time of war"), a new found sensitivity to anything that could be possibly construed as a restriction on dissent and, of course, a new excuse for attacking the Obama administration.” With video.

“Free speech Hannity” announced at the beginning of a segment on yesterday's (2/9/10) Hannity, “The Obama administration is sick and tired of your criticism over the way they’ve handled the detention of the Christmas Day bomber so they have dispatched Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan to silence the crowds.”

Hannity read from Brennan’s USA Today column which states:

The most important breakthrough occurred after Abdulmutallab was read his rights, a long-standing FBI policy that was reaffirmed under Michael Mukasey, President Bush's attorney general. The critics who want the FBI to ignore this long-established practice also ignore the lessons we have learned in waging this war: Terrorists such as Jose Padilla and Saleh al-Mari did not cooperate when transferred to military custody, which can harden one's determination to resist cooperation.

It's naive to think that transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody would have caused an outpouring of information. There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical.

Would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid was read his Miranda rights five minutes after being taken off a plane he tried to blow up. The same people who criticize the president today were silent back then.… Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.

Hannity went on to assail Brennan for not using the term “War on Terror” and to claim that he lost all credibility for having said he had briefed four top Republicans on the proceedings surrounding the detention of Abdulmutallab. According to Hannity, each of the four Republicans had disputed Brennan’s assertion. Rather than get reaction from Brennan or the White House, Hannity brought on another Republican, Rudy Giuliani, to add to the pile on.

Despite his vaunted 9/11 warrior image, Giuliani has no national security credentials. In fact, there are plenty who feel Giuliani needlessly caused the deaths of many first responders on 9/11. But that information was not provided to the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers.

But high on his Hanctimonious horse, Hannity repeated with disgust the quote, “Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.” He asked “Mr. Mayor,” “How are we to interpret that?”

I thought it was pretty darned clear that Brennan was saying that rhetoric like that used on Fox News on a regular basis is destructive. Hannity, on the other hand, seemed to want to stifle all dissent during the Bush administration, judging from such statements as, “(People) feel like (Democrats, as led by Senator Harry Reid) have emboldened the enemy and betrayed these troops.” Don’t just take my word for it. Jon Stewart nailed Hannity in his hypocrisy in this video last summer. Unlike Hannity, Brennan never suggested critics should just shut up. But, perhaps in a case of projection, that’s how Hannity and Giuliani took it.

“I guess we’re to interpret that we should just keep quiet and just let him continue to mishandle national security,” Giuliani said. He went on to claim that the column made “no sense to tell someone” that they can have a lawyer and remain silent and not expect that “a goodly portion” of defendants won’t “shut up.” “You never know what leads you lost as a result of the irresponsible decision to cut off the questioning,” Giuliani declared.

Both Giuliani and Hannity ignored the thrust of Brennan’s piece, which was that a) Abdulmutallab would have had the same Miranda rights if he were transferred to military custody; b) there was no reason to think he would have offered up more information there, indeed there was reason to think he may have offered less; and c) Abdulmutallab was being treated the same way as Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, which was a similar case, and there had been no objection from the likes of Giuliani and Hannity about the Bush administration’s handling of it.

But to listen to Hannity and Giuliani now, they seemed to be demanding that the Obama administration suspend the Constitution and go straight to waterboarding the suspect.

Giuliani huffed, “To accuse people who are questioning the way Brennan has handled national security of aiding Al Qaeda is a very serious and vicious charge.” Then, after misconstruing and mischaracterizing Brennan’s point, Giuliani accused Obama of “trying to shut down Republican opposition who really are in good faith raising these questions about national security.”

And, of course, neither Hannity nor Giuliani explained why they never had a problem with the Bush administration's handling of Richard Reid.

Believe me, if I thought Brennan was suggesting that anyone stifle free speech, I'd be the first to sound the alarm. But he was asking for reasoned, informed dissent instead of having national security issues used as a football for partisan politics. The irony is that in ignoring the substance of Brennan's comments and distorting them for their own (inflammatory) partisan purposes, Hannity and Giuliani had just proved Brennan's point.

Please consider writing to the show at hannity@foxnews.com and asking them why Hannity was against dissent before he was for it. I have written him and also asked why he had no objection to the Bush administration handling of Richard Reid. I'm sure he won't answer but even a non-answer is an answer. Asking the question is the first step in holding him accountable.