August 2, 2010
When U.S. law enforcement officials captured suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, they did the unthinkable: They read him his Miranda rights. Despite the fact that Shahzad continued to cooperate after the reading of his rights, defense hawks criticized the move as soft on terrorism. Now, one member of Congress has introduced a startling solution:
The bill filed Thursday by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) would change federal law by creating a procedure to question a suspected terrorist for up to four days before taking him or her to court without jeopardizing prosecutors’ ability to use statements made by a suspect during that time.
It would also express Congress’s view that authorities can delay reading Miranda warnings “for as long as is necessary” to elicit intelligence from a terror suspect.
That’s right, federal authorities “might as well” gain the power to hold and question suspected criminals for extended periods of time. While one would expect less hawkishness from a bill written by a California Democrat, the fact that Schiff is up for re-election against this guy puts things in context. When your opponent lists his first two credentials as “former military, former law enforcement,” it’s time to move to the right, no matter how misguided curtailing prisoners’ rights may be.