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Rick Moran

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April 20, 2013 - 6:05 am

The FBI will use the “public safety exception” to the Miranda rule in order to interrogate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber, without having to read him his constitutional rights.

From ABC News:

The exception, according to the FBI‘s website, “permits law enforcement to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation and allows the government to introduce the statement as direct evidence.”

“Police officers confronting situations that create a danger to themselves or others may ask questions designed to neutralize the threat without first providing a warning of rights,” according to the FBI.

Anticipating that Tsarnaev may be in a condition to be questioned, expect the activation of the president’s High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG).

The group, set up in 2009, is made up of agents from the FBI, CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. They have been on standby waiting for the moment the suspect was taken in.

According to the FBI, the HIG’s “mission is to gather and apply the nation’s best resources to collect intelligence from key terror suspects in order to prevent terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies.”

We know very little at this point about the conspiracy to bomb the Boston Marathon. Did the brothers act alone or did they have help? Are they part of a larger terrorist cell of Chechens located in the U.S.? And, most importantly, is there another, deadlier attack being planned that puts Americans in imminent danger?

The employment of the public safety exception giving the FBI the ability to question Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights is a pretty good indication that the government is worried that our lack of hard information about the bombers’ background and associates puts the U.S. and its citizens at risk.

The “ticking bomb” scenario has never actually occurred. There has never been a situation where we have had a terrorist in custody who might supply us with information that would head off an imminent attack. Our interrogations of several high-value terrorists have indeed led to the disruption of plots and the arrest of other terrorists. But there has never been an instance where a terrorist in custody has given us information — or even possessed information — that could have led to the dismantling of an active plot that had gone operational.

This doesn’t mean that, at some point in the future, a ticking bomb scenario won’t arise. But it hasn’t yet, and the fact that it was used to justify torture makes its use problematic, at least in some people’s minds.

The scenario has been used to justify torture in the past. But here, it is being used to justify employing the public safety exception to Miranda. Emily Bazelon, writing in Slate, makes some excellent points about the exception, and explains how it has been used previously:

There is one specific circumstance in which it makes sense to hold off on Miranda. It’s exactly what the name of the exception suggests. The police can interrogate a suspect without offering him the benefit of Miranda if he could have information that’s of urgent concern for public safety. That may or may not be the case with Tsarnaev. The problem is that Attorney General Eric Holder has stretched the law beyond that scenario. And that should trouble anyone who worries about the police railroading suspects, which can end in false confessions. No matter how unsympathetic accused terrorists are, the precedents the government sets for them matter outside the easy context of questioning them. When the law gets bent out of shape for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it’s easier to bend out of shape of the rest of us.

[...]

Things start to get murkier in 2002, after the FBI bobbled the interrogation of Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th 9/11 hijacker—the one who didn’t get on the plane—former FBI special agent Coleen Rowley wrote a memo pleading that “if prevention rather than prosecution is to be our new main goal, (an objective I totally agree with), we need more guidance on when we can apply the Quarles ‘public safety’ exception to Miranda’s 5th Amendment requirements.” For a while, nothing much happened.

Then the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was apprehended in December 2009, before he could blow up a plane bound for Detroit. The FBI invoked the public safety exception and interrogated. When the agents stopped questioning Abdulmutallab after 50 minutes and Mirandized him—after getting what they said was valuable information— Abdulmutallab asked for a lawyer and stopped talking. Republicans in Congress denounced the Obama administration for going soft.

Bazelon worries that the public safety exception will be abused by authorities if it is used unjudiciously. This is certainly something that should concern all of us.

But when authorities are confronted with so many unknowns regarding Tsarnaev, the public safety exception is a wise and prudent tool that federal agents can use to try and glean vital information — if the terrorist is in a mood to talk. The younger Tsarnaev is intelligent and apparently thoroughly Americanized. It is possible he knows he doesn’t have to speak to authorities anyway.

So the feds might find themselves back to square one even with the public safety exemption. As an American citizen, Tsarnaev will enter the justice system with some of the best lawyers in the country defending him. He won’t be sent to Guantanamo. He won’t be tortured. He might not even be convicted.

And sometime today, he will be read his Miranda rights and will not be under pressure to share whatever he knows, if anything, about future plots or other conspirators. It is frustrating to realize that in the age of terror, our laws and our Constitution are sometimes incapable of stretching far enough to adequately protect us.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
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Fail, I agree with many of your insightful comments but this one is clearly written by someone who has never been arrested.

Police are taught techniques to circumvent Miranda. They engage in casual conversation, then ask questions that clearly have the intent of eliciting an incriminating response. They then edit their tape recordings to show that the suspect was just talking and "no questions were asked".
Then they get on the witness stand and lie from the moment they take the stand until the moment they step down, knowing that because they are cops a significant number of people will believe them.

An innocent person doesn't need to be asked a trick question. All he needs to do is give a cop any information and if the cop and the D.A. want to get him they will twist that information to find a way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Send the guy back to Putin tied up in a bow. Maybe he can figure it out?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The downside is that anything he says (when not given his Miranda rights) cannot be used in court. So, say, he confesses to x,y,z (implicates numerous others, etc), well it is all useless in terms of being entered as evidence into court. Whatever he says can't be used. So, what's the point? Just mirandize him.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not true. What ever information is gleened within the limitations of the exception can be used in court.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Legal analysts all state that if the suspect speaks (and he has not been read his Miranda rights) those statements can be thrown out of court. You can look it up on the Internet. Thus, there is the chance that the prosecution is jeopardizing its case. IMO, they should just read him his rights, and proceed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First, thanks for a civil comment.

Actually, what I stated is what is contsained in the exception. Now let me advance past that exception. Any party to any intelligence unit(s) can interrogate a subject without any miranda acknowledgements so long as.... those around the interrogation are not a part of the judicial process as a prosecutor or a prosecutors investigators. The information that intelligence investigators seek is purely for intelligence value and cannot be used in a prosecution of an individual.

In domestic law enforcement you do not have to implement miranda unless you have made an arrest. During a field detention however, you can ask all the questions you want so long as you don't not ask 'direct' questions that would invoke admission of guilt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is the greatest of insults to the Prophet when so many give him little if any credit for all this.

In doing all this, these brothers may have perspired, but it was Mohammad who inspired.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Based on the commenting, its obvious few have an experience with war and why we have the GC and UN accords of internaltional laws pertaining to war. If we had, or were to ever have a real states war on our homeland people would get a quick wakeup call of why we have these uniformed and non uniformed laws of war. What goes around eventually, comes around!

Both the GC and UN have revised their articles of war since 2001 to include expanded difinitions of enemy combatants and the handling of them to include judiciary requirements -- military vs. state.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Likewise, there is good cause for the safety-security exemption framework of the miranda right execution.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does anyone doubt these men would've detonated a dirty nuke had they the ability?

When that happens, and it will, liberals will find their strange world of semantics afloat in a sea of unreality. "Losers" will exchange places with "ideology" and "anomaly" with "trend."

Liberals will suddenly wish these people were the raging "trend" lone wolf abortion clinic bombers and McVeigh were. When someone is running a radiation detector over their 5 yr. old daughter, that liberal will wish themselves straight to hell all they had to worry about had been white militia groups.

That liberal will wish themselves straight to hell they had not joined in defamatory hate speech against their own country that is indistinguishable from jihadi rhetoric. If words kill, then radical imams AND liberals are killing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Our cursed "political correctness" has brought this on ourselves. We're "hoist on our own petard".

We refuse to admit that these Muslims have already declared War against us infidels in our United States.....we refuse to admit this lest we offend our Muslim enemies....resident inside our United States, many claiming United States citizenship. They of course are no more American than Chairman Mao of olden days........but he's long since been forgotten.

Elsewhere I've posted that this is circular madness.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here you go again. I won't be surprise to learn soon that the brothers were the Tea Party members. What is the name of that "senior official"? David Axelrod?

"But, the senior official said, the emerging story of the Tsarnaev brothers more likely fits the profile of previous domestic terror attacks and a number of mass shooting events in recent history, specifically noting "very striking" similarities between the Boston attack and the killing rampage of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in 2011.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-boston-bombing-investigation-20130420,0,7218006.story
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Brevik has no white right wing country that shares his views he can go to. He was a lone wolf. On the other hand, liberals can find the "trend" they seek in a wide variety of nations that have institutionalized disdain for non-Muslims.

In terms of an intellectual space and how prominent that space is in the world, there are no similarities between Boston and Brevik. The Boston terrorists have many intellectual sympathizers around the world, not the least of which is the Dem Party, the DOJ and the NAACP, whose institutionalized, mainstream and federally funded anti-American and racial hate speech is non-stop.

The fact that Iraq and Afghanistan are entire nations that were seized at the point of a gun precisely because of hate speech and support of terrorists is lost on the Dem Party. No, they were just "losers."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
An awful article. Apparently no conservative sees the problem is with the Miranda decision itself. So Movement Conservatives once more show their predilection for coercive liberal procedures. And here I am thinking they were anti-Liberal. Silly me.

The problem is the Miranda decision. If the jerk wants to talk, let him. So I have to tell someone they might get in trouble if they spill the beans to the arresting authority. Like they didn't know that anyway without anyone telling them.

So the defendant was tricked into giving a confession. Tricked into committing the crime as well no doubt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Miranda is nothing more than a meaningless disclaimer and legal pedantry that lets criminals of the hook far more than it protects innocent citizens. Innocent people don't have to be reminded to shut up, criminals do. What trick question is an innocent person going to trip over?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just like a lot of other decisions many here don't agree with, Miranda is the law of the land. The alternative to abiding by it is an AK and the hills.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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