Justice Explains 15 Day Shahzad Delay

Why was Faisal Shahzad held incommunicado for 15 days after his arrest? Is the administration attempting to demonstrate a new "grace" period whether suspected terrorists would be treated differently from ordinary criminal defendants? Officials insist the answer, for now, is no.

On April 12, the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, sent a letter to the district's chief judge and chief magistrate, written "in deference" to the court, in case it happened to wonder why Shahzad hadn't yet been presented. The letter was sealed until today.Shahzad, Faisal Status Letter -- So Ordered 2010.05.20.pdf

A Justice Department official said that Shahzad was asked each day whether he would give up his right to "presentment," and the official said that Shahzad responded in the affirmative, allowing investigators to continue interrogating him.

In the letter, the Justice Department reviews relevant case law, and then offers evidence that "continued, uninterrupted" access to Shahzad has been critical to help law enforcement untangle the rest of the plot.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Politics

Just In