O'Reilly baselessly claims troops are Mirandizing detainees

Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that the Obama administration has reportedly ordered “military people” to read Miranda rights to detainees in Afghanistan. In fact, the FBI -- not military personnel -- reportedly have been Mirandizing detainees in specific instances.

On the June 11 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) reportedly “says the Obama administration is now ordering military people to read captured Taliban and Al Qaeda their rights in Afghanistan.” In fact, the Weekly Standard article that reported Rogers' claims said that, according to Rogers, “the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan.” It did not say that military personnel had been ordered to read Miranda rights to detainees. Additionally, on the June 10 edition of Special Report, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported: “U.S. commanders tell Fox soldiers are not reading Miranda rights to detainees, but those commanders could not speak to the FBI doing so.”

Additionally, on the June 10 edition of Special Report, Stephen Hayes, who wrote the Weekly Standard article reporting Rogers' claims, stated: “Well, it's interesting that back in the campaign, if you remember, this was a punch line for Republicans. You know, Barack Obama would like to read detainees their Miranda rights. And now we find out that this is, in fact, happening.” Hayes then added: “There are reports that this was happening on specific bases as going back as early as July 2008. But what Mike Rogers seems to be saying is that this is happening on a more consistent basis, and that the FBI and the Justice Department don't want to talk about it.” Additionally, Griffin reported that "[t]he Justice Department saying tonight that detainees at Bagram have been Mirandized in the past." Griffin also stated that Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd stated that "[t]here has been no policy change nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas" and that “there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas at both Bagram and in other situations in order to preserve the quality of evidence.”

As Media Matters for America noted, on the June 10 edition of Fox News' Hannity, just hours after Hayes reported that that the FBI also Mirandized people at “specific bases” during the Bush administration, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich described "[t]he idea that we pick up, in a war zone, a terrorist" and read them Miranda rights as “unimaginable. It's worse than anything Jimmy Carter ever did. It's worse than anything that President Bill Clinton ever did.” Neither Gingrich nor host Sean Hannity noted Hayes' assertion.

From the June 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: In “The Kelly File” segment tonight: four interesting situations, beginning with an accusation by Congressman Mike Rogers from Michigan, who says the Obama administration is now ordering military people to read captured Taliban and Al Qaeda their rights in Afghanistan. That means they're telling the terrorists that they have a right to remain silent.

With us now attorney and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. So, what's this all about?

KELLY: Yeah, exactly what you said. They're telling the FBI in particular --

O'REILLY: But why? Why would they do this?

KELLY: Because Barack Obama is changing our approach in the field when it comes to prosecuting or going after terror suspects, and it's a designed change and this is part of it. He views these terror suspects as criminals, not necessarily as terrorists. And so, he's making a shift to sort of the way we were pre-9-11, where we would treat them as criminals; we would have the FBI and law enforcement deal with them, as opposed to the CIA and our military intelligence deal with them.

O'REILLY: OK. Now is that smart if they're going to bring these guys to civilian court as this guy was brought to New York City last week, because then they can say to the jury: We Mirandized them.

KELLY: Yeah. Well, listen, my view is, if you've a problem with this, with him telling the FBI to Mirandize these guys --


KELLY: -- your problem is not really with that policy; your problem is with the fact that they're going to get trials here in American courts.

O'REILLY: But --

KELLY: If they're going to get trials here in American courts, then they do need Miranda.

O'REILLY: Then they have to get them or the --

KELLY: But they --

O'REILLY: -- 'cause the judge would throw it out in a minute.

KELLY: But if we would just keep them at Gitmo, or give them to military tribunals or court martials or whatever, it would be a different story.

O'REILLY: Well, we all know -- all of us who are sane -- that military tribunals is the way to handle this, but we're not living in that kind of a world anymore. However, the downside is you capture a Taliban and an Al Qaeda --

KELLY: Yeah.

O'REILLY: -- you can't ask them any questions.

From the June 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

GRIFFIN: A senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is accusing the Obama administration of quietly ordering the FBI to start reading Miranda rights to suspected terrorists at U.S. military detention facilities in Afghanistan. The move, according to Congressman Mike Rogers, is reportedly creating chaos in the field among CIA, FBI, and military personnel.

The soldiers especially, he says, are frustrated that giving high-value detainees Miranda rights -- the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney -- is impeding their ability to pursue intelligence on the battlefield. The story was first reported by The Weekly Standard.

ROGERS: What I found was lots of confusion and very frustrated people on the front line who are trying to, well, make Afghanistan successful for the United States and its allies.

GRIFFIN: Rogers, a former FBI special agent who served in the U.S. Army, currently sits on the House Intelligence Committee. He just returned from Afghanistan and a visit to Bagram airbase where he said the Miranda rights are being read.

ROGERS: I have witnessed it myself, talked to the people on the ground. What you had is two very separate missions colliding in the field in a combat zone. And, again, anytime that you offer confusion in that environment, that is already chaotic and confusing enough, you jeopardize the -- a soldier's life.

GRIFFIN: U.S. commanders tell Fox soldiers are not reading Miranda rights to detainees, but those commanders could not speak to the FBI doing so. The practice has not been instituted at detention facilities in Iraq or at Guantánamo Bay, according to senior U.S. military officials.