Despite Shahzad's cooperation, Krauthammer still argues he shouldn't have been Mirandized
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In his May 7 Washington Post column, Charles Krauthammer dismissed the fact that Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad continuned to cooperate with law enforcement after being Mirandized, stating: "All well and good. But what if Faisal Shahzad, the confessed Times Square bomber, had stopped talking?" Krauthammer went on to argue that Shahzad shouldn't have been Mirandized, even though he was a U.S. citizen.
From Krauthammer's May 7 Washington Post column:
All well and good. But what if Faisal Shahzad, the confessed Times Square bomber, had stopped talking? When you tell someone he has the right to remain silent, there is a distinct possibility that he will remain silent, is there not? And then what?
Think of the reason we give any suspect Miranda warnings. It is not that you're prohibited from asking questions before Mirandizing. You can ask a suspect anything you damn well please. You can ask him if he's ever picked his feet in Poughkeepsie -- but without Miranda, the answers are not admissible in court.
In this case, however, Miranda warnings were superfluous. Shahzad had confessed to the car-bombing attempt while being interrogated under the public safety exception. That's admissible evidence. Plus, he left a treasure trove of physical evidence all over the place -- which is how we caught him in two days.
Second, even assuming that by not Mirandizing him we might have jeopardized our chances of getting some convictions -- so what? Which is more important: (a) gaining, a year or two hence, the conviction of a pigeon -- the last and now least important link in this terror chain -- whom we could surely lock up on explosives and weapons charges, or (b) preventing future terror attacks on Americans by learning from Shahzad what he might know about terror plots in Pakistan and sleeper cells in the United States?
Even posing this choice demonstrates why the very use of the civilian judicial system to interrogate terrorists is misconceived, even if they are, like Shahzad, (naturalized) American citizens. America is the target of an ongoing jihadist campaign. The logical and serious way to defend ourselves is to place captured terrorists in military custody as unlawful enemy combatants. As former anti-terror prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes in National Review, one of the six World War II German saboteurs captured in the United States, tried by military commission and executed was a U.S. citizen. It made no difference.