Foreigners arrested “as suspected terrorists could be questioned by authorities before being read their rights, according to legislation introduced in the Senate Thursday,” The Hill reports.
The top-ranking senators on homeland security introduced a bill that would require Attorney General Eric Holder to consult U.S. intelligence officials before reading Miranda rights to any foreign suspected terrorist who has been arrested.
Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the chairman and ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, put forward the measure in response to the handling of the Christmas Day bomber.
Officials read Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights and placed him in the civilian judicial system before consulting the Director of National Intelligence or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, according to committee testimony last year. Abdulmutallab has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction after he allegedly tried to blow up a U.S.-bound flight containing hundreds of passengers.
Lawmakers criticized the Obama administration for mishandling the case, saying that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated before being granted any sort of legal rights. By not first questioning him, U.S. officials jeopardized the safety of the country, some lawmakers argued.
Collins’ office said “the bill does not strip the president of investigative authority or automatically dispose suspected terrorists who have been arrested to military tribunals or civilian trials.”
It’s called the Securing Terrorist Intelligence Act.