Andrew McCarthy wonders Why Was the Shahzad Complaint Made Public? considering that Shahzad was arrested on a complaint, not an indictement, and
Since Shahzad obviously waived his right to be presented, there was either no need to write the complaint yet or, if it was already written and filed when he started cooperating, there was no need to unseal it. Further, if Shahzad started cooperating only after the public filing of the complaint — which doesn’t seem possible under the circumstances — the thing to do would have been to go ahead and have the presentment in court, thereby doing what you could do to avoid tipping the bad guys off about the cooperation.
Needlessly making the complaint public may harm the ongoing investigation, but it is savvy public relations. It gives the Justice Department and the administration a script with which to portray themselves as super-competent and the civilian justice system as so effective that Bush-era relics like military detention are unnecessary. I hope there’s a better explanation than that. If there’s not, then the administration has prioritized scoring political points over effective investigation and intelligence gathering.
The administration may also not believe we’re at wat at all.