Reasonable people disagree about how much coercion interrogators should use to extract potentially lifesaving information from terrorists. (None at all, President Obama unwisely ordered soon after taking office.)(via reader Doug J.)
But no reasonable person could doubt that starting out with "you have the right to remain silent" is not the way to save lives.
Yet this is essentially the policy into which the Obama administration has locked itself by insisting that it did the right thing when it read Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas Day bomber, his Miranda rights after only 50 minutes of questioning and a hospital visit. . .
The fundamental principle underlying Miranda is the Fifth Amendment right of every person not to be "compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." And "all the Fifth Amendment forbids is the introduction of coerced statements at trial," as the late, liberal Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in a 1984 opinion, joined by Justices William Brennan and John Paul Stevens.
In other words, neither the Fifth Amendment nor Miranda forbids aggressive interrogation to protect public safety without Miranda warnings.
The Holder-Obama policy of promptly reading terrorist suspects their Miranda rights comes close to guaranteeing that no timely intelligence will ever be extracted from any of them.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Rational Democrat lawyer/columnist Stuart Taylor in the National Journal: