The Bali Nightclub bombing which killed more than 200 nearly a decade ago was one of the worst terrorist attacks to come after 9-11.
A tip from the CIA has now led to the capture in Pakistan of Umar Patek, an Indonesian national described as an alleged facilitator of the attack, and who is considered one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
Though Patek is arguably the highest value detainee picked up on President Obama’s watch, there was no public comment from the White House on efforts to question him.
“I don’t have anything to say in response to that from here,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney told Fox News.
With no confirmation that Patek is being interrogated by U.S. intelligence agencies, critics of the Obama Administration say an opportunity to gain real time intelligence is being lost for good.
Thiessen, who served under President George W. Bush, as well as other analysts say a larger issue is at play.
In the summer of 2009, the Obama administration put an end to the controversial CIA interrogations. Critics said the CIA program amounted to torture.
In its place, the high value interrogation group or HIG, was set up at the FBI, but it was not even used to question the alleged underwear bomber in December 2009.
Former CIA officer Phil Mudd says continuing litigation over the interrogation programs is making the agency and others risk averse.
“There are a lot of inquiries into CIA black sites,” Mudd said in reference to the CIA’s secret prisons where detainees were interrogated under the controversial program. “So the CIA got out of the business of holding detainees.”
In a statement, White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor told Fox News, “We have an interest in Patek and would hope that he could be brought to justice for his role in the 2002 Bali bombing. Working through the usual intelligence and law enforcement channels, we stand ready to assist our partners in whatever way we can.”
Late Tuesday, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that the Pakistanis have been questioning Patek, and that the U.S. has sought access to him, but so far, that request has been denied.
Unless there’s a change, Patek will be sent directly from Pakistan to Indonesia where he is expected to stand trial for the Bali bombing in October 2002.