Times Square Car Bomb

Recently naturalized American citizen Faisal Shahzad was arrested Monday night for attempting to blow up a vehicle parked in Times Square in New York City. Mr. Shahzad was born in Pakistan but was naturalized in April 2009.

With the intent of attaining information regarding imminent threats to the United States, Shahzad was interrogated by the F.B.I. without being read his Miranda rights. If the United States were in imminent danger of some other, preventable terrorist attack, Mr. Shahzad had no right to remain silent.

After providing what the F.B.I. called “valuable intelligence and evidence” Shahzad was read his Miranda rights but decided to keep talking.

This procedure was not strict enough for some Republicans.
Senator John McCain of Arizona called it a mistake to read Mr. Shahzad his Miranda rights so soon. “When we detain terrorism suspects, our top priority should be finding out what intelligence they have that could prevent future attacks and save American lives,” he said on Sean Hannity’s radio show. “Our priority should not be telling them they have a right to remain silent.”(NY Times)
This is a very different situation then we have seen before, however. Mr. Shahzad is an American citizen, arrested in the United States for crimes committed in the United States. If any of these were not true there would be precedent to interrogate him without Mirandizing him. For instance, the Supreme Court has ruled that an American citizen captured in Afghanistan could be detained as an enemy combatant.

I think it would be a pretty slippery slope to set a precedent of labeling some UNITED STATES CITIZENS as enemy combatants and withholding their rights. Of course they could say this would only be done in cases of terrorism, but I think it would still be too risky.

If this precedent had been set years ago, would Timothy McVeigh have been read his Miranda rights? Or would this treatment only be reserved for Muslim domestic terrorists?

I never thought I would say this, and I hope I never have to say this again, but I’m going to have to agree with Glenn Beck on this one…

“He’s a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens…He has all the rights under the Constitution. We don’t shred the Constitution when it’s popular.”

…okay, that’s all I can take right now.

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