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No Quick Miranda Warning Needed for Domestic Terror Suspects Under New FBI Rules

Posted Mar 24, 2011 6:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Domestic terrorism suspects may be questioned without an immediate Miranda warning under FBI rules adopted in December.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) obtained a copy of the FBI memorandum outlining the policy. It allows the delayed warning in “exceptional cases” when interrogation is needed “to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat," the story says. The questioning would first have to be approved by FBI supervisors and Justice Department lawyers.

Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller told the Wall Street Journal that the policy allows questioning without warning if it is “reasonably prompted by immediate concern for the safety of the public or the agents."

The story says President Obama had criticized the Bush administration for abandoning criminal procedures for terrorism suspects. “He has since embraced many of the same policies while devising additional ones—to the disappointment of civil-liberties groups that championed his election,” the article says.

In one example, the administration recently adopted formal procedures for military trials at Guantanamo Bay. Before taking office, Obama had signed an order to close the facility, the Atlantic points out in an article entitled “President Zigzag.” Obama said he needed to allow the trial because Congress blocked his plan to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to the United States for trial, the New York Times reported earlier this month.

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