White House: Terror Cases Show Miranda Warnings Justified


The guilty plea by the Underwear Bomber in Detroit and charges in an assassination plot linked to Iran added new fuel to the debate over whether terrorism cases are better handled in the criminal justice system or by the military, says the New York Times. Both cases were handled in the traditional court system, and investigators warned the defendants of their Miranda rights to remain silent and have an attorney. “Both of these cases demonstrate that Miranda was not at all an impediment” to winning a conviction and eliciting intelligence during an initial interrogation, respectively, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan told the Times.

Conservatives questioned whether either of the developments truly undercuts their arguments in support of the military system. In the alleged plot by Iran to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., American officials advised the Iranian-American defendant, Mansour Arbabsiar, of his Miranda rights. He waived those rights, as well as a right to be quickly presented to a judge, and spent nearly two weeks providing “extremely valuable intelligence,” officials said. Giving Miranda warnings to terrorism suspects led to political furor several times in 2010. “The concern is that the Obama administration has sought to treat foreign terrorists the same way that they would treat U.S. citizens who have committed an act of terrorism by extending additional rights to foreign terrorists, including Miranda rights,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

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