Against Miranda Rights for Domestic Terrorists

Terrorism is no doubt one of the most significant issues facing the US. Following the 911 terror attacks, this aspect became recognized as a dire threat to the countrys security and the reality of it could not be overemphasized. As such, the country declared an imminent war against terrorism including devising crucial strategies for preventing the occurrence of such in the future. Amidst the ongoing war on terror there has been an equivocal realization that domestic terrorism is indeed rampant in the country. There is an enemy within the US who may be very instrumental in facilitating international terrorists. Following this revelation, homeland security has endeavored to capture and prosecute domestic terrorists effectively.

Growing concerns in the war against domestic terrorism have arisen with the credibility of administering Miranda rights to terrorists being questioned. Indeed, it becomes paramount throughout this paper that it is in the nations best interests that such terrorists are not accorded the Miranda warning. Intelligence and information is the key to eliminating terrorism and it will be showcased that Miranda rights are a hindrance to the acquisition of this. Domestic terrorists who are read the Miranda warning have been seen to cramp up and fail to collaborate in investigations. As such, this paper will seek to argue that the nations welfare in terms of alleviating terrorism must take precedence and that domestic terrorists should not be accorded Miranda rights.

In any form of criminal trial, a confession from the defendant is often considered as compelling evidence. However, there are laws which govern how police officers proceed while obtaining confessions or information from suspects. Miranda rights are expected to be read to the defendant prior to any form of interrogation. According to Goldstein and Oberlander (2001, p.454) Miranda rights which were derived from the Miranda vs. Arizona case of 1966 seeks to inform suspects of their constitutional rights. These rights warn them against self incrimination and inform them of their rights to having an attorney present during any interrogations. Since suspects have been given the right to remain silent, it is up to them to either waiver the Miranda rights or not. At a time when any suspect chooses not to waiver the Miranda rights, they place a hurdle in any ongoing investigations. This is because these rights restrict them of giving out information which may incriminate them and as earlier observed without this information prosecution becomes problematic. This paper seeks to argue that Miranda rights are exceptionally problematic when handling domestic terrorists. Domestic terrorists should not be accorded these rights as they will hinder the war against terrorism.

In the discussion, the focus will be on two major aspects. First is the reality of the surmountable threat posed by domestic terrorists to national security. After depicting the extent of this threat then it becomes justifiable to deny domestic terrorists Miranda rights in a bid to curb domestic terrorism. Second, will be the focus on the use of extreme forms of interrogations which play a crucial role in gathering intelligence. In terms of extreme terror threats, it becomes necessary to warrant such techniques so as to obtain information which is needed for the elimination of threats. Following such, Miranda rights are considered obtrusive and thus disregarded. Despite the argument in favor of denying domestic terrorists their Miranda rights, it is important to understand the importance of these rights in the process of law enforcement. This will be indicated by a detailed depiction of the consequences of illegally obtained evidence.

Unlike other forms of terrorism which are conducted by extremists and with international direction, domestic terrorism involves criminal violations by US citizens who aim to intimidate and cause harm to fellow citizens. Until the 911 terror attacks, domestic terrorism was the most common form of terrorism and one of the deadliest as explained by Carafano and Sauter (2005, p.119). Over the years, domestic terrorism trends have been consistent with social and political changes. From the uprising of the Ku Klux Klan, the United Freedom Front, to the Zionist Occupation Government, the 1980s saw the upsurge of left extremists who engaged in bombings, robberies, murders and illegal trades. The 1990s were also laden with such groups but which were in support of right wing ideologies. These groups had developed a hatred for the government and used terror as a way of influencing policies. Since then till the current 21st century, domestic terrorism continues to ferment in the US. Consistent with this upsurge is the relentless efforts of the FBI, CIA and other security agencies in fighting these terrorists. It is no doubt that domestic terrorism is a very critical problem which deserves strict and severe consequences for the terrorists. The country has lost many citizens to such terrorists and the recent attempts by AbdulMutallab to bomb the flight destined for Detroit only goes to showcase the urgency of this predicament.

Indeed, the case of AbdulMutallab becomes quite relevant to this discussion with regard to the administering of his Miranda rights. As narrated by Benson (2010), AbdulMutallab had been interviewed by FBI agents before and after he was read the Miranda rights. Prior to the administering of these rights, the suspect had been very cooperative in giving useful information to the investigators who credited the information as being vital for intelligence. However, after the suspect was read his rights, he ceased talking to the FBI agents. Despite the fact that the information he had provided earlier had been useful, the administering of the rights put a halt to further provision of important intelligence by AbdulMutallab. The circumstances of the attempted bombing had indicated that the culprit had not acted alone and without more information, it became impossible to capture other conspirators. It is true to concur that without the administration of the Miranda rights to AbdulMutallab, it would have been easier to acquire all the necessary information. Moreover, there is a transparent indication that Miranda rights are indeed unnecessary when dealing with domestic terrorists because without their awareness of these rights domestic terrorists have no choice but to give out information. As clearly observed, these criminals are empowered by the Miranda rights to withhold information from law enforcers especially if they perceive it to be self incriminatory. In the worst case scenario, failure to acquire such important intelligence may pose greater threat to national security. It was possible that AbdulMutallab may have had contact with other individuals who were planning similar attacks. Without this information such attacks would have not been prevented and instead led to further killings and increased insecurity.

Hayes (2009) favors the denial of Miranda rights to domestic terrorists and claims that the right to remain silent for such criminals is quite unrealistic. When there are possibilities of saving lives using information obtained from these terrorists, then under no circumstances should they be offered the alternative of remaining silent. This fact is well illustrated in the case of the 911 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. After his capture, the terrorist failed to cooperate with the CIA and even asserted that he would do so only with the presence of his lawyer. After such a deadly attack in the US, the confessions of Khalid Sheik Mohammed were very important not only in seeking justice for the lost lives but also for the prevention of further attacks. Indeed, it becomes necessary under such circumstances for law enforcers not to treat terrorists like other criminals. Were it not for the fact that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was denied his right to a lawyer, the many lives saved and disrupted plots would have been impossible without the intelligence he provided to the CIA. An obvious tactic used by lawyers is to advise their clients to remain silent and with a lawyer Khalid Sheik Mohammed would have done the same.

From the above cases, it can be observed that law enforcers are faced with the dilemma of whether to deny domestic terrorists their Miranda rights or not. However, there is no confusion in the underlying importance of national security and the wellbeing of American citizens. Faced with such a dilemma, the interests in favor of saving lives and ensuring national security outweighs the necessity for administering Miranda rights to domestic terrorists. The role of intelligence should not be underestimated under any circumstances and should consequently be favored over law enforcement when dealing with domestic terrorists and their Miranda rights. In essence, if statements obtained from such terrorists without the administration of Miranda rights are admissibly limited it does not mean that when such international terrorists like Osama bin Laden are captured they would be read the rights. This further illustrates the impracticality of these rights in similar domestic terrorism situations. In fact, when public safety is under threat the provisions of these rights bear a particular exception. This exception allows for law enforcers to use information gathered from criminals without having administered them Miranda rights. Indeed, it also warrants officers to interrogate terrorists as long it will work towards providing intelligence. As such this eliminates future regrets of circumstances which would have been easily prevented if only there had been ample useful intelligence.

As earlier outlined, suspects are in a position to invoke their Miranda rights when they are warned by interrogators or law enforcement officers. In circumstances when suspects invoke these rights interrogators strategies become very limited and inadequate for developing the required intelligence. More often than not domestic terrorists become unapproachable when given the Miranda warnings. The alternatives left to law enforcement officers when dealing with such a criminal include leaving the suspect alone and hoping they change their minds, continuing further talks with the hopes that they will be persuaded or using other strategies which are beyond the threshold of Miranda rights. Indeed it is quite obvious that domestic terrorists should not be accorded such alternative measures as the critical nature of their information refutes such delays if severe consequences are to be avoided. White (2003, p.93) contends that the strategies of letting suspects rethink their positions or prompting them to do so are legally permissible and often used by interrogators while dealing with reluctant suspects. Even so, it would deem impossible to impart the same maneuvers while interrogating domestic terrorists as they are usually uninterested in offering any information to law enforcement officers. These individuals are hardened criminals who are willing to die for their cause and will stop at nothing in ensuring that they succeed.

When an interrogation officer seeks to go outside the Miranda rights while interrogating domestic terrorists their aim is to convince them that these rights are insignificant. They offer the comforting notion to criminals that their information would not be used against them. This strategy although deemed to produce results often create vast hindrances to the gathering of intelligence. Considering that law enforcement officers are aware of the possibility of domestic terrorists invoking their Miranda rights it is pointless to administer the same to them. Instead of choosing to go outside Miranda rights, it is only logical to deny them these rights from the very beginning. Apart from using this tactic, other forms of intelligence gathering are doomed to fail in capturing the full extent of the domestic terrorists information.

Torture is an extreme form of interrogations used in extracting intelligence from criminals. Despite the moral standpoint which does not favor torture and considers it an act against human rights, there are considerations for this act. The necessity for intelligence in times of security threats cannot be overemphasized and at times when there are possibilities for more attacks torture has been used to derive information from terrorists. When it comes to saving lives as asserted by Greenberg (2006, p.106) it becomes crucial for law enforcers to think the unthinkable. In most instances, individuals are always against torture but when face with realities like the ones encountered when dealing with terrorists, their mindset is inclined to change. It is in this consideration that Miranda rights need not be read to domestic terrorists as they serve no purpose. In a scenario where there is a ticking bomb bound to detonate at a particular time and there is a captured terrorist who is aware of this fact and unwilling to provide this information perhaps torture becomes a necessary evil. The lives of many US citizens are definitely prioritized. There exists a gap between human wishes and reality and it becomes crucial to limit this gap by whatever means necessary. While it is unimaginable to have to deny individuals their own constitutional rights, reality is that this act will enhance national security.

Since the start of president Obamas administration strict adherence to Miranda rights and their application to domestic terrorism have been emphasized. Since their conception in 1966, these laws were meant to safeguard individuals from incriminating themselves but more so for allowing due process using legally obtained evidence. That is, when terrorists are given the Miranda warning it is an attempt aimed at ensuring that their treatment and information gathered is done in a manner which make it admissible in court and which will lead to prosecution of the terrorist. This is one important element which does not favor the failure to read domestic terrorists their rights. This is because domestic terrorists may argue later on that they were coerced into giving information and that they were not intelligibly advised on the implications of their actions.

The above discussion has detailed an argument in favor of not reading Miranda rights to domestic terrorists. It was initially paramount in the discussion to establish the extent to which domestic terrorists pose to the US national security. Given the recent terrorist attacks and the upcoming domestic terrorists from the 80s and 90s domestic terrorism has continued to infiltrate the US. With the recent attempt by AbdulMutallab the necessity of Miranda rights in dealing with domestic terrorism has been questioned. These criminals should not be given these rights as they impede the process of intelligence gathering. More often than not, when permitted these rights most terrorists become more reluctant at offering information. It has actually been proven that better results can be obtained when the reverse is done. That is, the failure to read the Miranda rights to domestic terrorists results in their offering of intelligence and once the rights are administered they cease to do.

Of great importance to this debate is the identification of what is most important in such circumstances. Evidently, the safety and lives of American citizens takes precedence in law enforcement and the possibilities of using obtained intelligence in achieving this permits the exclusion of Miranda rights. This is to say that in the wake of an impending terrorist attack, law enforcement officers must give priority to the wellbeing of US citizens. However as the paper indicates Miranda rights have been put in place for the protection of citizens rights and in order to allow for gathering of information admissible in court. As such the circumstances under which domestic terrorists can be denied their Miranda rights are those which strictly aim at gathering intelligence as opposed to building cases against defendants. As long as the safety of US citizens is prioritized and lives saved or threats disrupted there is cause to deny domestic terrorists their Miranda rights.


Post a Comment