Monday, May 10, 2010

Ignorance Is Bliss To Liz

During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on May 6, Attorney General Eric Holder responded to GOP complaints that the FBI had given recent terrorist suspects Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (airplane on Christmas Day) and Faisal Shahzad (Times Square) the Miranda warning before questioning. Holder stated that the pre-warning questioning of Shahzad was far more lengthy than that of Abdulmutallab and added

“We made extensive use of the public safety exception before the decision was made to give them their Miranda warnings,” he said, adding that “a very substantial amount of information” was obtained through the un-Mirandized questioning.

Once he was given the Miranda warning, Deputy Director of the FBI John S. Pistole pointed out, he "continued to cooperate and provide valuable information."

Although a "federal law enforcement official" suggested to Talking Points Memo there has been no change in policy from that of the Bush Administration, TPM reports

The Obama Administration is applying an old exception to the Miranda rule in a new way in order to interrogate terrorism suspects before reading them their rights, several experts tell TPMmuckraker, finding what one law professor calls a "middle ground" between those who want suspects put through the criminal justice system and those who believe they should be classified as "enemy combatants."

Federal agents questioned both Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of planting a makeshift bomb in Times Square, and Umar Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas Day bomber, under the so-called public safety exception to the Miranda rule for substantial periods before informing the men of their right to remain silent, and to an attorney.

Information gleaned during questioning under the public safety exception -- in which police "ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for the public safety," according to the 1984 Supreme Court case that recognized the exception -- is admissible at trial.

"It looks like to me they're trying to find this middle ground between saying the Constitution applies with full force and the Constitution doesn't apply," says Sam Kamin, a professor of criminal law and procedure at Sturm College of Law in Denver who has written about terrorism interrogations. "It seems to be a deliberate strategy."

The Obama Administration either continues the Bush Administration policy or seeks a creative way to obtain more information from terrorist suspects. The suspect in the most recent apparent act of terrorism gives up significant information both before and after being warned of his right to remain silent. Yet, Liz Cheney, one of the daughters of former President Vice-President Dick Cheney goes on Fox News Sunday yesterday and claims (video below, courtesy of Crooks and Liars)

When the administration captures a terrorist and their first instinct is to inform him that he’s got the right to remain silent, that is exactly the wrong way to win this war. When we capture a terrorist, our first instinct has got to be: How do we understand the networks to which this terrorist is connected? How do we understand where he was trained? How do we understand who the leadership is? The administration is approaching this, and again this morning you had John Brennan saying, “Well, this was one-off because he drove the truck alone.” That doesn’t even make sense, it’s inexplicable. But if you aren’t willing to acknowledge that you’re facing a committed network of terrorists as your enemies, and that it’s radical jihadist Islam, then your response to that is gonna be, by definition, insufficient time and time again.

When the administration captures a terrorist and their first instinct is to inform him that he’s got the right to remain silent. Does Liz Cheney have any clue as to what is going on? Does she care?

And: does it really matter to anyone who is predisposed to believe that Barack Obama and Eric Holder are determined to undermine the security of the nation and leave it vulnerable to attack?

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