what other people think

Nobody Backs John McCain on Suspending Miranda Rights for Times Square Bomber

John McCain is impressing Republican primary voters again by calling for American citizen Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing, to be denied his Miranda rights. “Obviously that would be a serious mistake” to read Shahzad his rights, “at least until we find out as much information we have [sic], and there are legal ways of delaying that” McCain told Don Imus this morning. His sentiment was echoed by Long Island congressman Peter King, who said, “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.” Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters this afternoon that Shahzad was “initially questioned under a public safety exception to the Miranda rule and was cooperative,” but was “later read his Miranda rights and ‘continued talking.’” But is declining to read Shahzad his rights until we find out “as much information” as possible, or choosing to prosecute him in a military tribunal, even an option? Nope, says basically everyone.

• Marc Ambinder doesn’t see any wiggle room: “Military commissions only have jurisdiction over ‘alien unprivileged enemy belligerents,’ and Shahzad is a naturalized American citizen. Unless McCain and King are willing to create two classes of American citizens, Shahzad has every right to be read his Miranda warnings, and he will be tried by federal prosecutors in a federal court.” [Marc Ambinder/Atlantic]

• Andrew Sullivan says that the “cynical” and “power-hungry” McCain “favors shredding any constitutional rights for an American citizen suspected of a terror attack.” [Andrew Sullivan/Atlantic]

• Joe Klein writes that, undoubtedly, “under current law, as an American citizen, Shahzad has” Miranda rights. But he could be open to modifying the law to “exclude terrorism cases.”

• Jennifer Rubin wonders if the administration has “internalized any of the lessons of the Christmas Day bomber” and even “bother[ed] to assess the risks and benefits of Mirandizing a terror suspect this time around.” [Contentions/Commentary]

• Greg Sargent finds it “striking how quickly King and McCain (with others certain to follow) rushed to offer pre-emptive criticism of the administration’s handling of the suspect — a mere 12 hours after his arrest.” [Plum Line/Who Runs Gov]

• Steve Benen contends that “we know that the Mirandizing suspects does not undermine our national security interests. For decades, this wasn’t even a subject open to debate until Republicans decided last year this might be exploited politically to confused scared voters.” [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• Adam Serwer points out that “things like Mirandization were non-issues for McCain during the Bush administration, when more than 403 convictions were secured through the civilian justice system.” [Tapped/American Prospect]

• Glenn Beck confounded his Fox News colleagues by unambiguously backing Mirandization. “We don’t shred the Constitution when it is popular,” Beck added. “We do the right thing.” [HuffPo]

• Ed Morrissey agrees: “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 EunuchBomber, who attempted to enter the country (our airspace) to conduct a sabotage mission for an enemy of the US.” [Hot Air]

• Matthew Yglesias reminds McCain why we read people Miranda rights, because “if you don’t, you risk having your evidence thrown out of court. If you gather all the information before mirandizing, you could be throwing the whole thing into doubt. Which is why professionals give out the warning. They warn amateurs and drug addicts and crazy people and sophisticated members of organized crime syndicates.” [Think Progress]

Nobody Backs John McCain on Suspending Miranda Rights for Times Square Bomber