Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Times Square bomber was not likely to be a Presbyterian.

"According to Katie Couric, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been watching the Times Square bombing case more closely than anyone. He nevertheless pronounced over the weekend that the terrorist would probably turn out to be “homegrown — maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something.” I’m glad I’ve been out of town, since I fit the profile — not that Hizzoner would ever profile.

"As it happens, there is a real profile for this sort of thing and, mirabile dictu, it held up: A young Muslim male from the Middle East (born in Pakistan) has been arrested for engaging in an act of jihadist terror. The apprehension of Faisal Shahzad as he sought to flee the country for Dubai has refueled the controversy over how terrorist attacks should be handled. Are they law-enforcement matters subject to Miranda warnings, appointment of counsel, and ordinary prosecution? Or should they trigger a military process, including lengthy detention without counsel for interrogation purposes? "

Whether terror suspects should be treated as a law enforcement or a military problem is complicated since Faisal Shahzad became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year.  Andrew McCarthy who prosecuted the first Trade Center bombing case offers us his expertise.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me that the function of a Miranda warning is to insure that all statements are admissible in court. While the question of wartime vs. civilian trial is going on, isn't it reasonable for the authorities to determine that alleviating the immediate and long-term public safety threat is vital enough to take the chance of forfeiting the trial value of what is learned during questioning? In other words, when you have reason to suspect terrorist ties, don't Mirandize until you're sure you've learned what you need to know to prevent future incidents. Then, take what you have in terms of getting a civilian conviction.

    Perhaps, in fact, that's what's happened in this case. Watching the authorities fly by the seat of the pants isn't inspiring a lot of confidence in me, but they may have conducted themselves appropriately here.