Mar 24, 2011 5:46 PM GMT
I'm personally undecided on this ... though I think it should make people feel uncomfortable. This would have been considered intolerable under a Republican administration but maybe these expanded rules are needed to deal with substantial threats that they never tell us about. On the other hand, given how incompetent the department of Homeland Security seems at times should give pause...
New rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades.
The move is one of the Obama administration's most significant revisions to rules governing the investigation of terror suspects in the U.S. And it potentially opens a new political tussle over national security policy, as the administration marks another step back from pre-election criticism of unorthodox counterterror methods.
The Supreme Court's 1966 Miranda ruling obligates law-enforcement officials to advise suspects of their rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present for questioning. A 1984 decision amended that by allowing the questioning of suspects for a limited time before issuing the warning in cases where public safety was at issue.
That exception was seen as a limited device to be used only in cases of an imminent safety threat, but the new rules give interrogators more latitude and flexibility to define what counts as an appropriate circumstance to waive Miranda rights.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation memorandum reviewed by The Wall Street Journal says the policy applies to "exceptional cases" where investigators "conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat." Such action would need prior approval from FBI supervisors and Justice Department lawyers, according to the memo, which was issued in December but not made public.