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Continued Debate on Abdulmutallab's Miranda Warning

After WH Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan went on Meet the Press to point out that relevant congressional leaders were advised of the Miranda rights for the Christmas Day bomber, debate continues regarding the propriety of this approach. Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich argued that it was inappropriate to afford such Constitutional Rights to Abdulmutallab. During his interview with Daily Show host Jon Stewart, Gingrich asserted that affording these same rights to shoe bomber Richard Reid was appropriate, claiming (inaccurately) that Reid was a US citizen. Reid is, in fact, a UK citizen.

Regardless of the Constitutional merits of this approach, it is likely that minority opposition will continue to press this point as the 2010 midterm elections grow nearer. Congressional Republicans have benefited from a hawkish reputation on national security in the past, and hope to revive this advantage by criticizing the granting of Miranda rights and the use of civilian courts. Conversely, Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy has urged that the White House use the Federal criminal courts to try accused terrorists. In a February 11th letter to the White House, Leahy cited the words of then-Reagan adviser Paul Bremer, saying that this approach would “use democracy’s most potent tool, the rule of law, against them [the terrorists].”

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