Friday, March 25, 2011

New FBI Miranda Guidelines

The New York Times has published the text of the new FBI guidelines for "custodial interrogation" of "operational terrorists inside the United States." Objective #3 appears to give FBI agents particularly wide latitude in what topics can be discussed in these interrogations. Questions about operational financing (as Bobby Chesney suggested)? Questions about general command and control infrastructure? Questions like these are certainly important from an intelligence standpoint, but may not be allowable under the public safety exception.

These new rules are bound to be tested in court at some point, and I'd say it is likely that the Supreme Court will, at some point in the future, deal with Miranda's "public safety" exception as it relates to domestic terrorism. Of course, Congress may beat them to the punch, but even then the Supreme Court will likely rule on any codification of the exception at some point as well.

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