Skip to content

Hoyer Defends Feds’ Decision to Read Suspect Miranda Rights

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday defended federal authorities who read Miranda rights to Faisal Shahzad after his arrest on Saturday for an alleged car-bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square.

“This is a U.S. citizen, arrested on U.S. soil and subject to the constitutional protections and constraints of every U.S. citizen,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday afternoon in his weekly press conference.

Congressional Republicans have raised questions about whether Shahzad, a Pakistani-born, naturalized American citizen, deserved to be Mirandized, reigniting a debate they stoked in December after authorities offered the due process protections to “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

But Hoyer argued that as a citizen, Shahzad deserves constitutional rights — a view that he noted is shared by conservative television host Glenn Beck. “Nothing says we can’t convict and give an appropriate punishment to people just because we give them their Miranda rights under the Constitution,” Hoyer said, adding that Timothy McVeigh, the home-grown terrorist convicted of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, received similar treatment before his prosecution.

The No. 2 House Democratic leader praised both federal and local law enforcement authorities for their response to the bomb plot and said the Obama administration has properly prioritized its security efforts. But he acknowledged that an asymmetric threat from rogue individuals and disparate terrorist groups requires civilians to pitch in. ”

We all need to be on alert. All of us, all 310 million of us, need to be on alert, to inform law enforcement authorities as soon as possible — immediately — when one sees suspicious activity,” Hoyer said. “You’ve got to do everything you possibly can, and then pray that you get also lucky. Not because luck is what you want to rely on, but because it is such a difficult challenge.”

Recent Stories

House set to vote on challenge to McCarthy

Analysis: Fight over Ukraine in CR was undercard

Rep. Henry Cuellar carjacked in Navy Yard neighborhood

FTC, Justice take on digital giants as Congress dawdles

Capitol Ink | Unsafe at any speed

Maintenance backlog grows at national parks as funding tightens