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Shahzad Arrest Ignites Debate Over Miranda Warnings for Accused Terrorists

5 years ago
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A debate over whether suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad should have been read his Miranda rights reached Capitol Hill Tuesday, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer saying doing so was the correct course of action.

Law enforcement officials said they first interrogated Shahzad under a public safety exception, in case another attack was imminent, but then read him his Miranda rights, which he waived.

"This is a U.S. citizen, arrested on U.S. soil, and subject to the constitutional protections and constraints of every U.S. citizen. He is obviously suspected of committing a crime, of putting together a device to kill people and harm U.S. property. Even Glenn Beck says he's a U.S. citizen and deserving of constitutional rights," Hoyer said.

"Nothing says that we can't convict and give appropriate punishment to people just because we give them Miranda rights under the Constitution...As I understand it, he was availed of the same rights that any other citizen would be given."

Hoyer's comments stand in stark contrast to those of Sen. John McCain, who told Don Imus on Fox Business Network Tuesday morning that it would be a "serious mistake" if Shahzad was given a Miranda warning, which include the right to remain silent in police custody and the right to an attorney.

"Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about," McCain said.

Law enforcement officials have said Shahzad, a recently naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, has implicated himself in the attempted attack.

Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" who tried to bring down an American-bound flight in 2001, was given a Miranda warning as was Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspected Christmas Day bomber.

Hoyer dismissed Republican criticism of extending rights to suspected terrorist when they are detained on American soil and said that the Obama administration's record on fighting terrorism speaks to the success of the president's approach.

"We're tough on terrorists. That's our policy, that's our performance, and in fact, we've been more successful (than the Bush administration," Hoyer said. "We're more successful in Pakistan. We're focused on where terrorism was launched against us in Afghanistan, which the Bush administration essentially ignored."
Filed Under: The Capitolist
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