Has the Times Square Terrorist Been Read His Miranda Rights?

Posted on May 04, 2010

According to CNN, the man arrested in connection with the failed car-bomb attack in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad, “will appear in a Manhattan federal courtroom Tuesday to face formal charges in the case.” While Attorney General Eric Holder did not address the question in his statement to the press last night, this would seem to indicate that Shahzad has been read his Miranda rights and given a lawyer.

Just four months after its disastrous handling of the Christmas Day bomber in Detroit, is the Obama administration repeating its mistakes all over again? One would think that the administration would have learned its lesson and held off on reflexively reading this terrorist his Miranda rights.

The only reason to read Shahzad his Miranda rights would be to preserve what he says as evidence in his criminal trial. But our first priority should not be preserving evidence for his trial—it should be getting intelligence from him. According to ABC News, Shahzad “recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan and the city of Peshawar, a known jumping off point for al Qaeda and Taliban recruits.” Just a coincidence? Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the Times Square attack. While it is unclear whether the Pakistani Taliban group, which is linked to al Qaeda, was behind the plot, it may very well have been involved. The one person who can tell us is Shahzad. We need to know who sent him, who trained him, and whether other attacks are planned.

His capture raises other urgent questions for the Obama administration. For example, if Shahzad has in fact been read his Miranda rights, was the intelligence community consulted beforehand? The administration promised after the Christmas Day debacle that intelligence officials would be consulted the next time around before a captured terrorist was Mirandized.

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