“As soon as I can figure out how to ignite my ‘package’ I’m blowing up this airplane and everyone on it. Merry Christmas, America.” That was Umar Abdulmutallab’s desire on Christmas Day, 2009. Luckily, all this terrorist managed to accomplish was burning his tightie-whities and singeing the family jewels. Passengers on the Detroit-bound plane were able to subdue and restrain the dangerous, smoldering idiot. Great job, guys.
Abdulmutallab was taken into custody immediately after the plane touched down. I’m sure the aircraft had barely stopped rolling before the feds swarmed the thing and dragged this piece of garbage off. Good for them. I hope they pulled him out by his feet, allowing his head to thump on each step as they went down.
Everyone was safe. The plane was unharmed. The terrorist was in custody. An attempt at terrorism over American soil had failed. Luckily.
But here’s where the sandpaper began to rub cross-grain. Nope, things were not going smoothly, according to some politicians. What happened?
Well, it seems that (according to AP):
– FBI agents questioned Abdulmutallab on December 25, shortly after the bombing attempt. They did so without advising the thug of his rights. This was a decision they made at the time. Then, ten hours later a new team of agents arrive and DO read the guy his rights before questioning. Oh no! The first agents blew it! Now they can’t use “anything he said against him.” That’s what most people think. But are those folks correct in their assumptions? If you believe TV, then yes. But…
Did you know there’s a special exception to the Miranda rules? Yep. There sure is. A 1984 rape case involving defendant Benjamin Quarles set that standard. Quarles argued that police approached him (actually, they chased the scrote inside a supermarket where they recovered the pistol he’d used to make his female rape victim comply with his demands) and questioned him about his weapon before advising him of Miranda. Well, according to the Supreme Court decision in this case (I’ve only posted brief portions of the decision):
U.S. Supreme Court
NEW YORK v. QUARLES, 467 U.S. 649 (1984)
467 U.S. 649
NEW YORK v. QUARLES
CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF NEW YORK
Argued January 18, 1984
Decided June 12, 1984
JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.
Respondent Benjamin Quarles was charged in the New York trial court with criminal possession of a weapon. The trial court suppressed the gun in question, and a statement made by respondent, because the statement was obtained by police before they read respondent his “Miranda rights.” That ruling was affirmed on appeal through the New York Court of Appeals. We granted certiorari, 461 U.S. 942 (1983), and we now reverse. 1 We conclude that under the circumstances involved in this case, overriding considerations of public safety justify the officer’s failure to provide Miranda warnings before he asked questions devoted to locating the abandoned weapon.,,
…We hold that on these facts there is a “public safety” exception to the requirement that Miranda warnings be given before a suspect’s answers may be admitted into evidence, [467 U.S. 649, 656] and that the availability of that exception does not depend upon the motivation of the individual officers involved. In a kaleidoscopic situation such as the one confronting these officers, where spontaneity rather than adherence to a police manual is necessarily the order of the day, the application of the exception which we recognize today should not be made to depend on post hoc findings at a suppression hearing concerning the subjective motivation of the arresting officer. 6 Undoubtedly most police officers, if placed in Officer Kraft’s position, would act out of a host of different, instinctive, and largely unverifiable motives – their own safety, the safety of others, and perhaps as well the desire to obtain incriminating evidence from the suspect.
The officers in the Quarle case were absolutely correct when they put their safety first (as well as the well-being of everyone in the store) before worrying about advising a rapist of his right to stop flapping his gums or they’d use his words to put his sorry butt in prison for life.
So what’s the big deal. Why all the political doo doo smearing over this attempted airplane bombing case? The FBI agents acted properly. According to The Supremes, EVERYTHING the terrorist said can legally be used against him. Besides, the feds don’t need a single spoken word from the bad guy to convict him. They have dozens of eyewitnesses, the smoking gun (in this case, smoking undies), a history of terrorist activity in the guy’s past… So why would they need him to say, “Uh huh, I done it.” The answer is, they don’t.
What the politicians do want is information regarding his connections in the terrorist camps. So, as usual, our elected leaders have decided to use this incident as a political weapon. Maybe they’re right, maybe not. But I do know this, based on what we’ve been provided, the FBI agents acted properly. So leave them alone and let them do their jobs. It’s over, done, and we have to live with their decisions. Move on, let them build their case against the guy, and then put him away for life. Let him think about the burning bush for the rest of his days on earth.
I’m really tired of all the political squabbling over every single minute issue (I know this one’s not minute, but…). So I have an idea for the next election. Forget Obama, McCain, Clinton, Gore, Cheney, Bush, Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Romney…forget all of those folks. Here’s my choice:
I’m just saying…