Naturalized American citizen Faisal Shahzad, arrested late last night for the failed car bomb in Times Square, is in U.S. custody. Should he be read his Miranda rights? The question has a complicated recent history in U.S. policy.
In December, the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was Mirandized after his failed attempt to blow up a U.S. flight, which provoked outrage among some Republican legislators. Critics insisted that the Miranda reading made Abdulmutallab less likely to share intelligence, although administration officials say he continued speaking openly. The current rift among some conservatives over Shahzad's Miranda rights reveals a tension within the party between two core issues: Civil liberties, which is emphasized by those saying Shahzad's rights as a citizen must be respected, and national security, which some Republicans say is better served by not Mirandizing.
Conservatives For Mirandizing
- Glenn Beck: Read Him His Rights On Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck said, "He's a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens." Fox New's Brian Kilmeade pushed back, calling Shahzad "a threat to the country." Beck sighed, "So are a lot of citizens. If you're a citizen, you obey the law and follow the Constitution. He has all the rights, under the Constitution." He added, "We don't shred the Constitution when it's popular. We do the right thing." Kilmeade suggested that Beck's approach could risk the lives of his family. Here's the video:
- The Constitution Is Clear RedState's Moe Lane writes, "This isn’t a case of a non-citizen captured overseas as an illegal combatant, or even one of a non-citizen captured here: there are existing Constitutional mechanisms in place." He cites Article III, which reads, "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."
- How This Is Different From Abdulmutallab Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey explains, "Shahzad is an American citizen, arrested by law enforcement in America. As a US citizen, Shahzad has the right to remain silent. In that sense, he differs from the [Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab], who attempted to enter the country (our airspace) to conduct a sabotage mission for an enemy of the US. Ambdulmuttalab should have immediately been taken into custody by military and intelligence agencies, not the FBI, in order to make his status as an enemy combatant clear. "
Conservatives Against Mirandizing
- Sen. John McCain: 'Serious Mistake' Appearing on the radio show Imus In The Morning, McCain warned, "Obviously that would be a serious mistake...at least until we find out as much information we have. ... Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about."
- Rep. Peter King: Should Have Talked to Intelligence Community First The New York Republican worries, "Did they Mirandize him? I know he’s an American citizen but still. ... I hope that if they did read him his rights and if they are going for an indictment as opposed to a tribunal that he did discuss it with the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, all the component parts of the intelligence community."
- Sen. Joe Lieberman: Remove His Citizenship Appearing on Fox News, the Connecticut Independent suggested a process to strip "American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorists" of their U.S. citizenship, which would presumable include their Miranda rights. He asked "whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship, and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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