The Obama administration said Sunday it would seek a law allowing investigators to interrogate terrorism suspects without informing them of their rights, as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. flatly asserted that the defendant in the Times Square bombing was trained by the Taliban in Pakistan.
Mr. Holder proposed carving out a broad new exception to the Miranda rights established in a landmark 1966 Supreme Court ruling. It generally forbids prosecutors from using as evidence statements made before suspects have been warned that they have a right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.
He said interrogators needed greater flexibility to question terrorism suspects than is provided by existing exceptions.
The proposal to ask Congress to loosen the Miranda rule comes against the backdrop of criticism by Republicans who have argued that terrorism suspects — including United States citizens like Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the Times Square case — should be imprisoned and interrogated as military detainees, rather than handled as ordinary criminal defendants.
For months, the administration has defended the criminal justice system as strong enough to handle terrorism cases. Mr. Holder acknowledged the abrupt shift of tone, characterizing the administration’s stance as a “new priority” and “big news” in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We’re now dealing with international terrorists,” he said, “and I think that we have to think about perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have and somehow coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face.”
There’s not a prosecutor or defense attorney who could earnestly believe that this exception, if it passes will not be challenged for non-terrorists and eventually unravel our over two hundred years of jurisprudence. This is very bad news for democracy and justice in America.