Fox revives Christmas bomber Miranda misinformation

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

Discussing the Times Square bombing suspect on Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy and Byron York rehashed discredited claims that reading the Christmas Day bomber suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, his Miranda rights compromised the government's ability to obtain information from him. In fact, officials have stated that Abdulmutallab provided valuable intelligence both before and after he was Mirandized.

Doocy, York rehash discredited Miranda criticisms

Doocy: "[A]re they gonna do something different than they did on Christmas Day?" On the May 4 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, while discussing reports that authorities arrested Faisal Shahzad in connection with the May 1 attempted car bombing in New York City, host Steve Doocy said, "Now, the big question is, are they gonna do something different than they did on Christmas Day?" Doocy added that Abdulmutallab landed in Detroit, and "[n]ext thing you know, they talk to him for a little while, then they Mirandize him. And the Department of Justice took a lot of heat. Why did you do that? You didn't have to do that because there's a special exemption under the Miranda law, you don't have to do it right away if there's an imminent threat."

Doocy: "This time maybe they will try to extract as much information as possible before they Mirandize him." Later in the program, Doocy said, "[Attorney General] Eric Holder in the one o'clock hour had a press conference, and he said that investigators would seek intel from [Shahzad]. And there is some suggestion that, you know, unlike the 'crotch bomber' on Christmas Day where they -- they talked to him a while and then they read him rights. This time maybe they will try to extract as much information as possible before they Mirandize him."

York: Gov't "actions are going to be under the microscope because of the controversy over" Abdulmutallab. Appearing on Fox & Friends, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York said the Justice Department's "actions are going to be under the microscope because of the controversy over the Detroit Christmas Day bomber." York added that Abdulmutallab "was questioned for all of 50 minutes, less than an hour, and then read his Miranda rights. Now you have a situation -- the questions that are going to be asked are -- has this new suspect been read his Miranda rights?" Later, York said "critics" were saying "there should have been a longer interrogation for" Abdulmutallab and that Justice's handling of Shahzad will be "examined with a really fine tooth comb."

Officials: Abdulmutallab cooperated with interrogators before and after being Mirandized

Abdulmutallab was interrogated, and intelligence and law enforcement officials said he gave valuable information. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair stated on January 20, "The FBI interrogated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab when they took him into custody. They received important intelligence at that time, drawing on the FBI's expertise in interrogation that will be available in the HIG [High-value detainee Interrogation Group] once it is fully operational." Additionally, FBI director Robert Mueller testified that interrogators interviewed Abdulmutallab "to gain ... intelligence about whether there's another bomb, whether other coconspirators, where'd he get the bomb, all of that information without the benefit of -- or within the Miranda warnings."

Since being Mirandized, Abdulmutallab has cooperated with interrogators. Responding to Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a February 2 hearing (accessed via the Nexis database), Mueller agreed that "Abdulmutallab has provided valuable information" and that "the interrogation continues despite the fact he has been Mirandized." Blair testified in the same hearing: "There are decisions that have to be made in which you balance the requirement for intelligence with the requirement for a prosecution and the sorts of pressure that you bring onto the people that you arrest in either form. It's got to be a decision made at the time. And I think the balance struck in the Mutallab was a very -- was an understandable balance. We got good intelligence, we're getting more."

News reports corroborate Mueller, Blair statements. Moreover, Reuters reported in a February 2 article that "a law enforcement official" said "Abdulmutallab is talking and has been talking since last week providing useful, actionable and current intelligence that we've been actively following up on." The New York Times also reported:

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a jetliner bound for Detroit on Dec. 25, started talking to investigators after two of his family members arrived in the United States and helped earn his cooperation, a senior administration official said Tuesday evening.

Mr. Abdulmutallab, 23, began speaking to F.B.I. agents last week in Detroit and has not stopped, two government officials said. The officials declined to disclose what information was obtained from him, but said it was aiding in the investigation of the attempted terrorist attack.

"With the family, the F.B.I. approached the suspect," the senior administration official said, speaking to reporters at the White House on the condition of anonymity because of the pending legal case. "He has been cooperating for days."

Bush administration reportedly Mirandized shoe bomber immediately

Reid was reportedly read Miranda rights five minutes after being taken into custody. The Politico reported on February 2 that "back in December 2001, Richard Reid - the 'shoe bomber' - was read or reminded of his Miranda rights four times in two days, beginning five minutes after being taken into custody." The article states that "[a]fter Reid attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight out of Paris, Massachusetts State Police officers boarded the plane at 12:55 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2001, handcuffed Reid and removed him from the plane, according to U.S. District Court records." It continued: "'At around 1:00 p.m., one of the officers (it is unclear who) read Reid Miranda warnings,' according to a court order in Reid's case."

Reid is currently serving life sentence in Colorado. Reid was arrested in December 2001, pleaded guilty in a federal court on October 4, 2002, and was sentenced on January 30, 2003. As The New York Times reported on January 1, 2003, Reid, who is a British citizen, pleaded guilty "to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives concealed in his shoes" and "was sentenced today to life in prison." Reid had claimed "he was a member of Al Qaeda." Reid is serving his sentence at the Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.

Fox & Friends previously claimed Abdulmutallab "shut up" after being read rights

Kilmeade: Abdulmutallab "talked for about 50 minutes then shut up after his Miranda rights were read to him." On February 3, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade stated that Abdulmutallab "talked for about 50 minutes then shut up after his Miranda rights were read to him ... [a]t the airport and in the hospital. He was quiet after that." But news reports at the time suggested federal agents decided to give Abdulmutallab a Miranda warning because he had stopped cooperating at that point.

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Interrogation
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.