Debate: Miranda Rights For Suspected Terrorists? : The Two-Way Do suspected terrorists, even those who are U.S. citizens, deserve the traditional Miranda rights?
NPR logo Debate: Miranda Rights For Suspected Terrorists?

Debate: Miranda Rights For Suspected Terrorists?

Along with saying there is evidence to link the Pakistan Taliban to the May 1 attempt to set off a car bomb in Times Square, Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday also said on NBC's Meet the Press that the Obama administration wants to work with Congress to come up with changes to the rules regarding just when suspected terrorists — even those who are U.S. citizens — should be read their Miranda rights.

"We certainly need more flexibility and we want the 'public safety exception'," which lets authorities question a suspect without reading him his rights, "to be consistent with the public safety concerns that we now have in the 21st Century," Holder told MTP host David Gregory.

"This is in fact big news," Holder added, referring to the administration's position.

When authorities tell a suspect about his Miranda rights, they're basically informing him that he has the right to a lawyer and to remain silent.

Here's a clip from the discussion Holder had with Gregory on MTP:

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Holder also said during the interview that, in the case of the suspected Times Square bomber, reading him his Miranda rights did not keep Faisal Shahzad from continuing to talk to investigators. But the attorney general said several times that he wants interrogators to have more "flexibility" in when deciding at what point a suspect may need to be read his rights.

As the Associated Press says, "the administration has been heavily criticized for reading Miranda rights to suspects in the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a plane heading for Detroit and the May 1 Times Square plot. Terrorism has presented all sides in the debate with a delicate balancing act, protecting the rights of the individuals accused of terrorism while also attending to public safety."

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