Sen. Bond Lies About Miranda Rights

May 12, 2010 4:41 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

This afternoon, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) criticized the Justice Department for giving Miranda warnings to alleged Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.  During an interview on MSNBC, Bond claimed that reading terror suspects their rights "jeopardizes our ability to get vital intelligence." Bond, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also repeated the conservative talking point that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab "shut up" after being informed of his rights. 

BOND: The real problem, though, is that the Department of Justice continues to Mirandize or tell these people they have a right to remain quiet when they're terror suspects.  There's no need for them to do that, and that jeopardizes our ability to get vital intelligence.  [...]

The fact that Shahzeed is talking - Shahzad is talking - that's good.  But if they continue to tell these people they do not have to talk, they're going to get some people to shut up, as Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day bomber, did.


To her credit, host Andrea Mitchell did not allow Bond's lies to go unchallenged.  As she correctly noted, "The Miranda warnings did not stop" Shahzad from providing valuable information.  In fact, Shahzad was initially questioned under a "public safety exception" to the Miranda rule, and he continued talking after being read his rights.      

Similarly, the Christmas bomber was given Miranda warnings nine hours after his arrest.  According to the LA Times, "Abdulmutallab was not read his rights until he made it clear that he was not going to say anything else." However, he started talking again after the FBI contacted his family, who helped convince him to cooperate with the investigation.

Despite the rightwing hysteria, recent events show that Mirandizing suspected terrorists does not impede intelligence gathering efforts.  And in the case of the Christmas bomber, following the rule of law actually helped produce new information.