There was a heated debate over a week ago over whether the Times Square suspect should have been Mirandized. And lots of folks said absolutely, and not just the usual types on the left who think terror is about crime and not war. Conservative voices spoke up quite thoughtfully in defense of the idea that
Today, as three more are arrested, seems like a good time to revisit the issue.
Especially since the Obama administration signaled a couple of days ago that it was rethinking the wisdom of reading such suspects their rights.
Did you see that? Here’s an excerpt from a report about that:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Sunday it would seek a law allowing investigators to interrogate terrorism suspects without informing them of their rights, as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. flatly asserted that the defendant in the Times Square bombing attempt was trained by the Taliban in Pakistan.
Mr. Holder proposed carving out a broad new exception to the Miranda rights established in a landmark 1966 Supreme Court ruling. It generally forbids prosecutors from using as evidence statements made before suspects have been warned that they have a right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.
He said interrogators needed greater flexibility to question terrorism suspects than is provided by existing exceptions….
I didn’t realize that had happened until I saw an op-ed piece today in the WSJ praising it:
… In other words, the Miranda rights to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning would be suspended for terror suspects believed to possess information that could prevent an attack.
The administration is making a number of admissions here: Mirandizing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, aka the underwear bomber, after only 50 minutes of questioning was a mistake; terrorists are enemies of America, not ordinary criminals; and the law-enforcement approach to combatting terrorism, which is designed to obtain evidence admissible at trial after a crime has already been committed, is not the most effective way to obtain intelligence to prevent future attacks.
This is an important step forward and a sign that, after the Manhattan subway plot, Fort Hood, Detroit, and now Times Square, the administration has become more adaptable to the realities of the war on terror. Yet the jury is out on whether the administration has a real plan or is merely improvising. Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad remains in the criminal justice system and has not been designated as an enemy combatant, though he is still eligible for such designation….
Of course, the idea that Mr. Holder is raising is based in the oft-cited nostrum that the Constitution is not a suicide pact.
Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had had any further thoughts on this point.