“Also triggering debate was the decision to read Shahzad his “Miranda” rights against self-incrimination. The Miranda issue rose to prominence after the Nigerian suspect in the Christmas Day incident, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, stopped cooperating with authorities after being read his rights. Some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said Shahzad should not have been afforded that constitutional right “until we find out what it’s all about.”
But administration officials said Shahzad, who, like Abdulmutallab, was initially responsive to questioning under a “public safety exception” to the Miranda rule, continued to cooperate after his rights were read to him. They also pointed out that Shahzad is a U.S. citizen and must be tried in civilian, not military, court. “
Shahzad, a U.S. citizen, was properly and legally Mirandized. And he is cooperating with investigators and apparently providing good information.
Yet the Chicken Littles so eager to hand federal authority vast and unchecked new powers over the individual — all in the name of temporary safety — will no doubt continue their clucking.
On the other hand, Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo) and others are correct when they point out that the NYC attack could have turned out very differently.
“Like the Christmas Day bomber, we were lucky that both of these folks were incompetent — they couldn’t trigger the explosives,” Bond said.
To a degree, that’s not just luck. The theory behind counterterrorism is to keep the enemy under such sustained pressure that he cannot muster a sophisticated, organized attack like that of Sept. 11 or the attack on Mumbai, India. So far, we’ve managed to do that.
However, there’s no doubt that luck was also involved. The attempts will keep coming, and eventually one may succeed. We have to accept that, and to understand that terrorists win when terrorists terrorize. A refusal to be terrorized — including a refusal to sacrifice the essential liberty that is our birthright in vain hope of temporary safety — must be part of our defensive response.
As Winston Churchill liked to say, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”