Huffpost Politics

Eric Holder: Miranda Rights Should Be Modified For Terrorism Suspects

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Attorney General Eric Holder said for the first time today on ABC's "This Week" that the Obama administration is open to modifying Miranda protections to deal with the "threats that we now face."

"The [Miranda] system we have in place has proven to be effective," Holder told host Jake Tapper. "I think we also want to look and determine whether we have the necessary flexibility -- whether we have a system that deals with situations that agents now confront. ... We're now dealing with international terrorism. ... I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections]. And that's one of the things that I think we're going to be reaching out to Congress, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face."

America's system of Miranda rights developed out of a 1966 Supreme Court ruling which found that the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment rights of an alleged rapist and kidnapper, Ernesto Arturo Miranda, had been violated during his arrest and trial (Miranda was later retried and convicted).

The Court ruled that before being interrogated, a person in custody must (among other things) "be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court," and that they "must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning."

Holder, who was making his first appearance on a Sunday morning news show, also declared that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted bombing of Times Square by Faisal Shahzad last week.

"We've now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack," Holder said. "We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it. And that he was working at their direction."

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