Miranda rights controversy revived by Times Square bomber

jail cell window with woman inside

The Miranda rights controversy erupted again in debate about whether Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shazad should have been read his rights. Flickr photo.

A Miranda Rights controversy revolving around whether suspected terrorists should be read their rights has erupted months  after it originated with the Christmas Day bomber. Soon after Faisal Shahzad was arrested Tuesday in the Times Square bomb investigation, bloggers, politicians and pundits raised a chatter about whether law enforcement officials should have read Shahzad his rights. As a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, Faisal Shahzad is entitled to be read his Miranda rights.

Miranda rights: Christmas Day bomber

The Miranda rights controversy erupted last year after Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was read his Miranda rights following his arrest. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab intended to blow up an Northwest Airlines flight on its approach to Detroit from Amsterdam but succeeded only in lighting his pants on fire like a cheap pay day loan. Republican lawmakers, according to sfgate.com, have criticized the administration for not consulting the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies before FBI agents read the 23-year-old Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights. They say the decision cost the administration valuable intelligence.

Miranda rights: Times Square bomber

When Faisal Shahzad was arrested in connection with the Time Square bomb on Tuesday, msnbc reported that Republican politicians used the occasion to reignite the Miranda rights controversy. In a speech on the Senate floor, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said “Hopefully, the appropriate officials are using this opportunity to exploit as much intelligence as he may have about his overseas connections and any other plots against Americans either here or abroad.”

Miranda rights controversy debate

Arguments circulating in the media whirlpool Tuesday about the Miranda rights controversy produced some strange bedfellows on both sides. On the Caucus Blog at the New York Times, Maria Newman reports that John McCain said on the “Imus in the Morning” program that it would be a “serious mistake’’ to let Mr. Shahzad know, under the  1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona, that he had a right to an attorney before answering any questions, “at least until we find out as much information we have.”

Miranda rights controversy absurdities

Commenting about the Miranda rights controversy, Glen Beck, of all people, said “This is no time to shred the constitution,” on Fox News. Amanda Terkel at Think Progress shared her disbelief on Beck’s comments, writing: Believe it or not, Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano and host Glenn Beck are condemning the type of fearmongering that King and McCain are doing. Adam Serwer at Tapped on americanprospect.com had something to say about these comments from Senator Joe Lieberman:

I think it’s time for us to look at whether we want to amend that law to apply it to American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, 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.

Serwer called Lieberman’s comments “really absurd.” If Lieberman listened to himself, he would realize that he advocates stripping people of American citizenship based on mere suspicion of a crime, “There’s no benefit to denying Shahzad due process, Serwer said, “but doing so might create significant problems down the road. So put away the pitchforks already.”

Other recent posts by bryanh