Home inContext The Obama Administration’s “New Priority”

The Obama Administration’s “New Priority”

Samara Greenberg

The Obama administration said Sunday that it plans to work with Congress to create possible limitations to the constitutional rights afforded terrorism suspects — even for American citizens. The administration would like to allow law enforcement authorities more time to question suspected terrorists before they are told about their Miranda rights.

The administration has previously defended the criminal justice system as strong enough to handle terrorism cases. Holder acknowledged the administration’s abrupt shift in tone, characterizing the administration’s stance as a “new priority” and “big news.” “We’re now dealing with international terrorists,” he said, “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.” Faisal Shahzad, the accused NYC car bomber, was questioned for about four hours before being read his rights.

The use of Miranda rights in terrorism cases is controversial, since providing a suspect with the right to remain silent could prompt him/her to stop disclosing information that might prevent future attacks. Indeed, the Obama administration’s decision to loosen the Miranda ruling when it comes to suspected terrorists is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.