Mirandizing Abdulmutallab

Somehow I missed this when it came out, but last week Richard Serrano and David Savage wrote a piece in the LA Times about what really happened during the questioning of Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab:

FBI agents questioned him at the hospital for just under an hour. They did not give him the Miranda warning, which advises suspects that anything they say can be used against them at trial, citing an exemption that allows them first to seek crucial information on any pending crime….”He was making comments like, ‘Others were following me.’ And that is a circumstance where you’ve got a potential disaster, that there are others out there and you don’t have to Mirandize him right away.”

But the questioning stopped when doctors said they needed to sedate Abdulmutallab to treat his injuries. At that point, the sources said, the agents backed off….When Abdulmutallab awakened, a second team of FBI agents was sent in. Authorities thought he might be willing to say even more to the second set of agents.

“We had to see if he was still willing to talk,” another source said. “And it was pretty quickly apparent to them that he wasn’t. He had had a change of mind. It was only after establishing that with some confidence that they decided to go ahead and Mirandize him.”

But by that time, the second source said, “We had already talked to him for almost an hour and he provided a lot of information.”

This is probably old news to most readers, but I figure if I missed, others might have too. So here it is. Bottom line: Abdulmutallab was treated the same way the Bush administration treated Richard Reid and every other terrorism suspect caught on U.S. soil since September 11th.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.