Belmont Club

Well why not?

Fox News reports that a senior Republican has told the press that the Obama administration has told the FBI “to start reading Miranda rights to suspected terrorists at U.S. military detention facilities in Afghanistan.”

The move is reportedly creating chaos in the field among the CIA, FBI and military personnel, according to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. 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, according to a story first reported by the Weekly Standard. …

Rogers, a former FBI special agent who served in the U.S. Army, just returned from Afghanistan and a visit to Bagram Air Base, where he said the rights are being read.

“I witnessed it myself, talked to the people on the ground,” he said. “What you have is two very separate missions colliding in the field in a combat zone. Again, anytime that you offer confusion in that environment that’s already chaotic and confusing enough, you jeopardize a soldier’s life.” U.S. commanders told FOX News soldiers are not reading Miranda rights to detainees, but those commanders could not speak to whether the FBI was doing so. …

Asked if the Obama administration had ordered that Miranda rights be read to certain detainees, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “I have no reason to disbelieve a member of Congress. But I don’t know any of the circumstances that are involved around it.” But Gibbs acknowledged that it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that it was happening.

This is the logical conclusion to Obama administration’s approach to combating terrorism. Actually scratch that. America is no longer fighting terrorists, just investigating alleged crimes. The US only has a crime problem, nothing more. If that is so, it would be interesting to know whether we have actually ‘won’ the war against terrorists or whether there never ought to have been a war in the first place. The other question is whether these ‘suspects’ are now entitled to pro bono representation? Well why not? In for a dime, in for a dollar.

What could possibly go wrong? Could this impact the development and exploitation of tactical intelligence? Could it put lives at risk? Or is that just another “false choice” put forward to destroy our “moral standing”? What do soldiers have to do differently to preserve the chain of evidence? What must they do to avoid liability? There must be host of unanswered questions. No wonder Rogers is reporting confusion. I guess the government just has to hire more lawyers to train people, prosecute suspects and provide pro-bono defense. Maybe this is part of the stimulus package. It would make about as much sense as any other conjecture.

Update:An article in The Los Angeles Times may provide a clue to the provenance of the new Miranda Rules. It may be part of Obama’s “Global Justice Initiative”.

Under the “global justice” initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said. …

The approach effectively reverses a mainstay of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism, in which global counter-terrorism was treated primarily as an intelligence and military problem, not a law enforcement one. That policy led to the establishment of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; harsh interrogations; and detentions without trials.

The “global justice” initiative starts out with the premise that virtually all suspects will end up in a U.S. or foreign court of law.

But it might not be irrelevant to point out that it also makes Eric Holder, not Robert Gates, the lead person in the fight against ‘suspected criminals’. My bad. I should have guessed that from the first. Fill a position, then expand that position’s responsibility until it encompasses all that it should. “If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain.”


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