Jack Bauer Knows Where You Can Stick Your Miranda Rights


When U.S. law enforcement officials captured suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, they did the unthinkable: They read him his Miranda rights. Despite the fact that Shahzad continued to cooperate after the reading of his rights, defense hawks criticized the move as soft on terrorism. Now, one member of Congress has introduced a startling solution:


The bill filed Thursday by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) would change federal law by creating a procedure to question a suspected terrorist for up to four days before taking him or her to court without jeopardizing prosecutors' ability to use statements made by a suspect during that time.

It would also express Congress's view that authorities can delay reading Miranda warnings "for as long as is necessary" to elicit intelligence from a terror suspect.

The White House has yet to take a position on Schiff's bill, but you can bet Attorney General Eric Holder will like what he sees.

Under the bill, the attorney general or the director of national intelligence or their top deputies could certify to a court that an individual is a terrorism suspect and "may be able to provide intelligence to protect the public safety." In such cases, authorities could question the individual for up to 48 hours without facing an automatic presumption that the statements couldn't be used in court. A judge or magistrate could extend the period for another 48 hours "for good cause shown."

While "for good cause shown" sounds like the legal equivalent of "just for fun," Ben Wittes, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, said he liked the bill, except for the only-four-days-of-detention part.

Wittes also said 48 to 96 hours really doesn't give interrogators much time to talk to a suspect. "If you're going to do this, you might as well give the government more time than that," the Brookings expert said.

That's right, federal authorities "might as well" gain the power to hold and question suspected criminals for extended periods of time. While one would expect less hawkishness from a bill written by a California Democrat, the fact that Schiff is up for re-election against this guy puts things in context. When your opponent lists his first two credentials as "former military, former law enforcement," it's time to move to the right, no matter how misguided curtailing prisoners' rights may be.

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  1. Cleo, you’re going to have to trust me.

  2. It’s a good thing TEAM BLUE is so much better on civil liberties issues.

    1. Hey now. Read closely and you will see that it is still Team Red’s fault. The guy who is running against this guy is a real meany. I mean you can’t expect a congress critter to do the right thing at the risk of his job can you?

    2. No shit. What was that crap about “liberaltarian”? Where’s Terry Michaels to explain it all to us rubes?

      1. Terry only shows up if you say “AIDS is real”. Oh shit…

      2. Or Brink Lindsey. Remember how he kept saying that liberals and libertarians can work together on civil rights issues?

        1. Do we really have to keep calling Team Blue Liberals? Its pretty obvious they are not.

    3. One single guy on Team Blue does not speak for the entire team. Under your argument, Team Blue is in favor of reinstating the draft because good ol’ Charlie Rangel keeps introducing such a bill to make some sort of political point-never mind said bills always are defeated (one by a vote of 402-2). Now, if this actually passes, that’s another thing. But it won’t, because Team Blue overall won’t let it.

      Now, if Team Red was in charge…

      1. Were only that this guy was some sort of mutant or rarity. His type is in fact very common.

      2. Right, if TEAM RED were in charge, we’d still be in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo would still be open, the DEA would still be making medical marijuana raids, and they’d be writing bills to prop up the biggest banks.

        Thank Jeebus that TEAM BLUE is in charge.

      3. Rangel made that proposal while Team Red was in charge, you ratfucker.

  3. Darn that Adam Schiff. I knew from his stint as Manhattan DA that his affinity for the Constitution was never that strong.

    1. Just what I was thinking; he was all about politics and reelection.

    2. I thought he retired when Arthur Branch (and then Jack McCoy) took over.

  4. Some of these terrorist suspects seem pretty stupid, but not quite so stupid that they need someone to tell them that they have the right to remain silent before they would think to lie or keep their mouths shut during interrogation.

    In any case, someone who is so well trained by Al Qaeda that they think that fireworks and propane tanks will make an effective bomb is not likely to have a lot of useful information about their secret plans.

  5. Remember that washed up crackpot street guy in Watchmen that walked around holding a sign that said “The End Is Nigh”? Yeah.

    1. Rorschach was right the whole time.

    2. Ah, crap, now I have to watch it again.

      1. Don’t do that to yourself BP, there are plenty of good movies out there.

      2. Watch it? Watch it?

        I think you mean READ it.

  6. … question a suspected terrorist for up to four days before taking him or her to court without jeopardizing prosecutors’ ability to use statements made by a suspect during that time.

    It would also express Congress’s view that authorities can delay reading Miranda warnings “for as long as is necessary” to elicit intelligence from a terror suspect.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  7. His opponent has a funny piece addressing those pesky economic bubbles:

    I have navigated Wall Street through taking a company public and running it in the public market, and I have experience and knowledge of our economic system. I will fight against the pressures of lobbyists in Washington to get these enormous bubbles under control for the sake of our nation’s future.

    That’s silly. The whole bit. Silly.

  8. The White House has yet to take a position


    But no waterboarding, remember?

  9. Considering how fast the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act went from Terrorist only, to siminars about how to apply for law enforcement, this is a very dangerous idea.

    1. But…this time will be different, right?

  10. I think Adam Schiff is on the payroll of the CIA.

  11. Didn’t the British try this to deal with the IRA in the late ’70’s (and if I am not mistaken the law is still in effect)? Last time I checked the IRA is still around.


    1. Under British Law, Parliament can pass any Act it damn well pleases, suspend any rights and override any due process.

      I would like to think that Schiff’s proposal would be shot down in less than a minute in front of the SCOTUS, but then I remember: Scalia, Roberts, Kagan,….

  12. “In such cases, authorities could question the individual for up to 48 hours without facing an automatic presumption that the statements couldn’t be used in court.”

    That’s 50% less time than that Pennsylvania women spent in jail for using her cell phone to video a cop.

  13. It’s a good thing TEAM BLUE is so much better on civil liberties issues.

    It’s still good! It’s still good!

    (D-Calif.) and (D-Mass.) and (D-Ore.) and a few others are sort of ad hoc honorary TEAM RED!ders, psychologically and/or rhetorically, to “liberaltarian” types. They’re anti-libertarian about absolutely everything, to a degree that no TEAM RED!der (except maybe Huckabee) is, and that dangerous knowledge has to be repressed or concealed. So the responsibility for about half the shitty shit they do is handed off to a TEAM RED! constituency
    (D-Calif.) et al don’t even have. And the other half is just “Well what do you expect? It says (D-Calif.) right there,” so it doesn’t count, either.

    1. Democrats overwhelmingly voted for the Patriot Act. And they have done nothing to alter it since taking power.

      So pretty much any Democrat who claims to care about such things is lying.

      1. Well, more of Team Blue voted nay than Team Red. And there have been (some) modifications to such.

        1. 2% of Dem senators and 35% of Dem reps voted against it. Not enough.

    2. But Huckabee seems so nice …. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it.

  14. I think it was John Yoo that argued that they shouldn’t have read him his Miranda rights especially because what the Time Square Bomber would have said during that time couldn’t be used against him in court.

    In other words : tell us all you know and we won’t even be able to use it in court. So feel free to give us as much informations as you want, it won’t be used against you. But once we read you your rights, we’ll be able to use anything else you’ll say. I tought it was a clever to get the suspect to tell you as much as possible without him risking a greater time behind the bars.

    But of course, passing a law that make it so that you will be able to use whatever the suspect will tell you against him even before reading him his rights kinda goes against that….

  15. Why is this an issue? If a terrorist tries to take out a bunch of innocent human beings, he has no Miranda rights. They just don’t apply to war criminals, combatants or scum.

    Turn him over to the military. Waterboard him, pull out his fingernails, whatever. Just extract information. That’s what he would do.

    Why is that diffiucult to grasp?

    1. I guess presumption of innocence isn’t very important to you. Tell you what; I’ll call the FBI and tell them you’re a terrorist. It’s totally cool if they pull out your fingernails, right?

      How do people like you get through the day being this stupid?

      1. I’m trying to figure out if Not PC is trolling, or actually believes what he wrote.

        1. He believes it, I’d say. Authoritarians are like that.

          1. You are correct sir.

      2. If you catch me trying to kill hundreds of innocent people, I qualify as a terrorist.

    2. I’m pretty sure Miranda rights do, indeed, apply to scum. In fact, scum are much more likely to to have an opportunity to exercise their Miranda rights than are persons in the non-scum category.

      1. What about the rights of that little girl?

        1. What about the rights of that little girl?

          …they were violated, not by the government, but by scum. Possibly by the sample of scum before us, but that remains to be determined.

          At least, it remains to be officially and formally determined which is a processes that has rules. Following those rules is why we are not scum.

          / never hurts to say it again, and again, and again ad nauseum

        2. channeling Nancy Grace!

    3. Because domestic groups or individuals who disagree with the government could then be labeled “terrorists” and lose their rights. Do you really want that to happen?

      1. I disagree with a lot of what the Government would rather that I didn’t. The difference between me and a terrorist is that I don’t kill (or even threaten to kill) hundreds of innocent people.

        Is that a tough concept to grasp?

    4. I agree with not PC. There have over 18,000 Americans murdered by terrorists since 2001! Just today jihadists machined a school bus full of children in front of my house!!

      Burn the Goddamned constitution!!!

      1. “machined a school bus full of children”

        What a bunch of tools.

        1. Lathe them alone, they’re not awl bad.

          1. Stop screwing around and hammer the point home. It’s much easier if you just hit the nail on the head the first time.

            1. This is so boring – we all know the drill.

          2. They’re following a pattern, I tell you!

            There’s a clever schematic behind this.

    5. Actually, I’m surprised by the relative lack of internet tuffguy trolls on this thread. Usually they crawl out of the woodwork to prove that terrorists who hate us for our freedoms are sorely misguided.

  16. In such cases, authorities could question the individual for up to 48 hours without facing an automatic presumption that the statements couldn’t be used in court.

    Court? You mean they’ll actually try these people before slinging their asses into a dungeon indefinitely?

  17. … an individual is a terrorism suspect and “may be able to provide intelligence to protect the public safety.”

    “Yeah, dude, it was Funky down at 46th Street who done the job at Binky’s Liquor Store.” Sounds to me like this guy is providing intelligence to protect the public safety. No Miranda for him!

  18. When your opponent lists his first two credentials as “former military, former law enforcement,” it’s time to move to the right

    Considering what Obama has done since taking office, the bipartisan authorization and reauthorization of the Patriot Act and other such awful stuff, and the Democratic author of this bill, I think it’s time to quit labeling gutting the Bill of Rights like this as “right-wing”. It’s bipartisan!

    1. It was Wilson and FDR who committed some of the most grievous civil liberties violations in our history.

  19. The rights exist w/o the Miranda warning? What the fuck difference does it make when the warning is read? If a cop takes custody of me I have Constitutionally guaranteed rights regardless of Miranda. If I am charged with a crime another set of guaranteed rights kicks in.

    1. They do exist without the Miranda warning, but not everyone is aware of them.

  20. Alt text blows. Wasted potential.

  21. Serious question: what happens when they arrest a person who doesn’t speak English? Do they have to read them Miranda rights in their native language before hauling them off?

    1. Not before hauling him off. Just before questioning him and using anything he says against him.

  22. What’s so stupid about this is that Miranda rights don’t ever HAVE to be given. If the Gubmint thinks someone it a terroist with vital information they can question him for however long they like. It’s just that they can’t use anything he says in court against him. Actually, they could have just released Shahzad from custody after he was arrested and as he walked out the jail door the CIA could have picked him up and renditioned him to some hell hole and gotten whatever info he had.

    1. I always thought of it as a greater protection for those not from the US or those who are immigrants. Unfortunately that isn’t the sole use.

      I have a hard time reconciling the need to do so with natural born citizens. I can see the need, and how the need is stupid in many cases.

  23. It’s interesting that relevant facts (Shahzad gave plenty of info without his rights being violated), as well as effective ways to improve safety (border patrol, port security, immigration restrictions from Muslim countries) are ignored.

    It’s also interesting that a shithead with bombs in his underwear, or one guy who tried to light his shoe on fire, can have such a profound effect on the country.

    Almost all of the “anti-terrorism” measures are geared towards creating a police state

    1. Just keep yer nose clean, bub, and ya won’t ha’ nothin’ t’ worry ’bout.

  24. And as usual, a “terror suspect” is whoever the state’s agents say he is. Without proof of any kind.

    1. ^^This here. People who spout off about those bad, bad towel heads are so damned naive if they don’t think that “terrorism” now applies to every criminal.

  25. This suspect was a threat to terrorize the neighborhood with little baggies of crack cocaine. Therefore, we had to interrogate him without a lawyer.

  26. Now we have hit bottom. Our laws are starting to resemble those of France. You just cannot get any lower than being French.

    1. they can cook though.. but not much else.

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