Adam Schiff Advocates Gutting Miranda

Adam Schiff–a CA Democrat (!)–just filed a bill aiming to not only give prosecutors 4 days to question “terror suspects” before bringing them to court, but also expressing the will of Congress to let them delay Mirandizing suspects “as long as is necessary.”

The bill filed Thursday by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) would change federal law by creating a procedure to question a suspected terrorist for up to four days before taking him or her to court without jeopardizing prosecutors’ ability to use statements made by a suspect during that time.

It would also express Congress’s view that authorities can delay reading Miranda warnings “for as long as is necessary” to elicit intelligence from a terror suspect.

I had a whole range of thoughts as I read this. I reminded myself that the time frame Schiff would allow prosecutors to hold people without bringing them to court is just slightly longer than the amount of time our country claims we can legally sleep deprive someone (remember, the reason we delayed bringing Faisal Shahzad to court was because we needed him available 24/7). I’m intrigued by the timing–not long before an election that the White House has said could result in Dems losing the House (and with it, John Conyers and Jerry Nadler losing their Committee and Subcommittee gavels).

But I’m also interested by what Schiff didn’t include in his bill: Any limitation on this to those who present a national security risk (as the hawkish Ben Wittes notes in a quote in the story). So can an environmental activist lose Miranda rights under this bill? Can Quakers?

100 replies
  1. harpie says:

    H.R.5934 :


    To declare the sense of Congress that the public safety exception to the constitutional requirement for what are commonly called Miranda warnings allows for unwarned interrogation of terrorism suspects, and to amend section 3501 of title 18, United States Code, to assure the admissibility of certain confessions made by terrorism suspects, and for other purposes.

    Sponsor: Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] (introduced 7/29/2010)

    Cosponsors: (None)

    Committees: House Judiciary

    Latest Major Action: 7/29/2010 Referred to House committee.

    Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

    Text not yet available, and I am still looking for it in the Congressional Record.

    • harpie says:

      For the record, it’s on Page H6455, but it doesn’t say anything more than what’s in the title…I thuought the text might have been read.

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    Looks to me as though it would apply to everyone and for everything. I sure hope it goes nowhere.

    When we said moslem prisioners get the same rights as other prisoners, we didn’t mean for the rest of us to be dragged done to their level.

    Gee, a blue dog up for re-election pandering to the to the far right. Nobody could have predicted that.

    Boxturtle (Would Nancy sacrifice Miranda to help a blue dog keep his seat? Does a Mama Grizzley s**t in the woods?)

  3. PJEvans says:

    I’d expect someone from that area to know better (his district is mostly Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank, lots of money, lots of immigrants).

    I can guarantee that, if this passes, one of his moneyed constituents will end up being held several days without their Miranda rights being read for them, and they’ll be suing everyone they can find. (And if I were them, I’d include Schiff on that list.)

  4. harpie says:

    From the article EW links to:

    […] Attorney General Eric Holder has publicly encouraged Congress to take action to adapt the Miranda rule’s public safety exception to allow more questioning in terrorism cases. […] “Modernizing, clarifying, making more flexible the use of the public safety exception would be something beneficial,” if limited to terrorism investigations, Holder said at a House hearing in May. […]

    Here’s Holder’s written testimony from that House Judiciary Committee hearing on 5/13/10:

    Here’s a bit from John Conyer’s opening statement that day:

    […] I also want to raise a number of issues relating to our justice system that I hope attorney general will help address:

    First, last Sunday the attorney general unilaterally chose to inject the issue of statutory modifications to the Miranda public safety exception into the national debate. Although no specific proposals have been made, I believe the idea of such legislation is unnecessary and a mistake. As Attorney General Holder has said and has proven, and as former Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke has agreed, the current system has worked effectively. For example, the attempted Times Square bomber was interrogated using the existing public safety exception, and reportedly has provided extremely valuable information both before and after receiving Miranda warnings. Attempting to hastily alter an effective and constitutionally based system could actually undermine rather than enhance law enforcement efforts. […]

    So, now it seems that Schiff and the administration are working together on a “specific proposal” [from the article]:

    Schiff, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he had consulted with the administration about the legislation, but had no formal endorsement. “I’ve discussed it with the attorney general and the White House, but this draft is my own,” the congressman said.

    A Justice Department spokesman said Schiff’s legislation was under review. A White House spokesman had no comment.

    And what exactly is Schiff saying, here? [!!]:

    Schiff noted that, whether or not his bill is passed, the government can always ignore the legal niceties and risk making the evidence obtained unavailable at trial. “There’s always that safety valve,” he said.

    That’s just creepy.

    Also, EW has written about this before:

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have proposed legislation to put terrorism suspects captured in the U.S. into military custody and to question them without any Miranda warnings.

    The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosectuion Act of 2010; S.3081 [related bill: HR4892]

    [PS: You’re welcome!]

  5. harpie says:

    o/t and sorry for so many comments [where is everyone?], but I know many will be interested:

    Dawn Johnsen Speaks [“publicly for the first time in 18 months”] at the 2010 American Constitution Society National Convention:

    and to bobschacht@7: Agreed.

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    I suppose bluedogSchiff would quiz Colorado Boulevard*s little old lady from Pasadena, in her heyday. I like that district of Los Angeles, although the politics can be divisive. There are some wonderful old homes on boulevards shaded with immense broadleaf canopies of trees. But the entrenchment of the data-aware society has generated controversies geographically in the region, one gaining national note in fairly recent years, as folks at JetPropulsionLab pushed back, all the way to Scotus in one matter; for a duly restrained discussion between Solove and Kerr see concurring opinions synopsis page. The best days are when the smog somehow has blown seaward, leaving the San Gabriels visible in the clear mornings.

    • PJEvans says:

      Having lived in east Pasadena (which is unincorporated, actually), what happens with the mountains is that they’re taken out every evening for cleaning, so they can be enjoyed at sunrise.

      There are some extremely conservative people living in Schiff’s district, and some who are equally liberal. It doesn’t make his proposal right.

      • JohnLopresti says:

        *Right*; incremental reactionaryism. I agree with the other depictions upthread from locals to the region.

        I suppose the distance from Altadena to Universal City is sufficiently abbreviated that city founders simply substitute a movie set for the San Gabriels during *scrubbing*.

        Regarding Dorotea*s penchant for the rhtorical flourish, I have supported MW longterm as a friend of greater LA, and someone who appreciates the worth of improving her world for the benefit of youth who will reside in it. I thought a lot of Harman*s resistance to G8 G4 snookering from the previous president*s administration emerged only from her having to respond to Winograd*s implaccable assaults over 1-3/4 campaigns. The outcome was a stronger Harman, and support for essays like ew*s recent series on Senator Rockefeller*s **machines**, and the like.

        Re why Democratic party has fixated on the Schiff part of the party*s spectrum, alas, such is politics in many parts of the greater LA area. I know of a north CA district with yet another blue canine who must service his own gerrymandered mandate, though has votes on the liberal side when he may.

  7. Nell says:

    Looks like electioneering to me, but dangerous and despicable electioneering. I’d expect a lot of Republicans to co-sponsor, and if so it hands to all GOP candidates the opportunity to “pin down” their opponents on the question.

    A question that shouldn’t and wouldn’t be coming up if not for the craven regime that’s brought us two-tier-legal-system-as-new-normal. Heckuva job, Holder and ObamaRahma.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    For the Schiffs of the world, we’re all potential terrorists. Terrorism is a tactic, it’s a crime. Like any other, it hurts people in a way that we conclude justifies arrest, prosecution and detention, occasionally death. It is not a special class of crime; they all hurt someone, some more than others, in a way that requires the state to intervene and to use the monopoly on the use of armed force that we give it.

    Men being men, and prey to passion, error and ambition, that monopoly traditionally comes at a price: due process and other limits on state power. As it has deregulated finance and business, to the enormous cost of its citizens, our government is now deregulating its use of force. Instead of expecting BP or Goldman Scratch to restrain themselves voluntarily, we are now to expect the state’s use of force to be governed not by law, but by voluntary restraint. Or we are told to expect no restraint, because that way lies safety.

    That’s a vision of safety as a golden fleece, something so important that it must be cherished but hidden. Come and enjoy it, but watch out for the dragon.

    • seeker561 says:

      ” “Terrorism” is whatever the government says it is.”

      This is what terrifies me and makes these ill considered stunts so dangerous. What most of us don’t get is that in the end we are ALL terrorists under these rules.

      This is the kind of nonsense that undermines the “vote for us, we’re not quite as bad as the other guys” strategy the dems are relying on. In the end, the only difference seems to be in the harshness of the language they employ and not in the actual positions they endorse

  9. bluewombat says:

    Uggh — I volunteered for his first campaign, because I wanted to help get rid of James Rogan, who had been one of the Clinton impeachment managers. This is the choice the two-party system offers us: barking right-wing lunatics and Conservadems eager to gut the Constitution. God bless American democracy!

    • lawson says:

      Like bluewombat I was thrilled when Schiff beat Rogan, but not now. Schiff is a blue dog by choice — not because his district requires it — in fact he is probably well to the right of his district.

      Back in 2008 I wrote him a strongly worded letter(tm) asking him to vote against telecomm immunity and I was surprised to get a personal phone call from him explaining how he was sorry we disagreed on the issue. He left a phone message which I saved (I just listened to it, he said — “I got some stuff in the bill which I felt made it less bad — politics is all about compromise” — I was so mad I didn’t call him back — what else can you say at that point?). Maybe he thought I would potentially run against him — but I’ve got no money and no connections — just a part time political science professor (my letter was a plea for not making the bill of rights that I teach my students about irrelevant).

      Ultimately, I think this bill is about giving the Obama admin a trial balloon on this type of stuff. Something he’s happy to do because he wants to move up the leadership ladder.

      I wish there was someone in the district who would challenge him from the left who would be credible (not a Winograd tilting at windmills, but someone who had a real chance). Unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone like that in the district. Plenty of rich liberals — but none willing to take on Schiff.

    • mattcarmody says:

      So far diapers and a wide stance are indicative of a Republican while money in the freezer and legislating while black are what Democrats get tarred with.

    • victortruex says:

      It is really getting hard to tell the Democrats from the Republicans without a program.

      And if you look in the program, it says they’re all the same team. No discernible difference except the brown members of the Democratic party got their skin color genetically and Boehner got his at a tanning salon. Corporatists, one and all.

  10. Hugh says:

    Schiff is just doing the Administration’s bidding on this. From my Obama scandals list:

    152. As reported on May 7, 2010, the Obama Administration has questioned terrorism suspects like the Christmas underwear bomber Abdulmutallab and Times Square bomber Shahzad without first mirandizing them under a very expansive reading of the public safety exception to Miranda set out in Quarles 1984. Two points need to be made. First, a Miranda warning is a reminder of rights we already have. Miranda protections do not start just from the time of the warning. We have them all along. Second, the public safety exception was meant to be extremely limited in scope, no more than a few brief questions at the time of arrest. As it is, Abdulmutallab was questioned for 50 minutes and Shahzad 3 to 4 hours before they were mirandized. None of what they said during that time should be admissible in court. On May 9, 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder called for legislation to legalize what the Obama Administration’s policy of violating Miranda. This is yet another example of how our Constitutionally guaranteed rights are being gnawed away piece by piece. When Miranda was decided in 1966, there were predictions that it would severely compromise law enforcement, that criminals would be running wild in the streets. The actual effect of it was to raise the professional standards of the police. It led to better, solider cases which put more criminals away. What Obama and Holder want to do is loosen standards that have worked well and safeguarded our rights because in the short term sloppy just looks so much easier to do and defend. All one has to do is invoke that all purpose excuse, the War on Terror, and Americans will happily sign their rights away, rights which over our history so many Americans have died defending.

  11. Surtt says:

    let them delay Mirandizing suspects

    I am confused, I though reading someone their Miranda rights did nothing.
    You have those rights via the constitution. Mirandizing just informs and/or reminds them of the rights they already have.

    • Becca says:

      The point of the police intoning those words anybody who’s ever watched a cop drama knows by heart isn’t the words themselves. Or the over-text of the reminder to the arrested that they have these rights.

      The point is our authoritarian overlords want to delay, hinder, and negate those rights as much as possible, one step at a time. Now, unless you overtly assert your right to silence, you don’t have one.

      They don’t want to tell you that you have a right to an attorney until they’ve had four straight days of being able to break your will and make you confess.

      They don’t want to give you a right to a phone call, so they won’t tell you about that either, or make it nigh impossible to actually make the call.

      Even if you know about your right not to say anything, for 96 hours and without the aid of an attorney, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Or they’ll just stick you in a cell with a snitch who’ll happily make up shit you never said. “After all,” the prosecuting attorneys will argue, “who can keep from speaking for four days straight, other than a monk sworn to a vow of silence?”

      The point of withholding the Miranda isn’t the words — it’s about disappearing people into the penal systems so that they can be mistreated, interrogated, and even tortured into confessing. As Emptywheel pointed out, there’s nothing in current law that requires the authorities to let you sleep during that 96 hour period, which is just long enough to break most people.

      This is not America anymore.

      • Surtt says:

        This is not America anymore.

        Reminds me of the old film interviews of German citizens after WW2.
        Most of them said some variation of “We didn’t realize what was happening.”

        Anyone paying attention can see what is happening to America.
        It makes me sick that so many are cheering it on.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Tender Comrade, 1944

          Jo Jones: We’re running this house like a democracy!
          Manya Lodge: Once, in Germany, we had a democracy. But…
          Helen Stacey: But you lost it?
          Manya Lodge: No, we didn’t lose it. We let it be murdered – like a little child.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That’s correct. Failure to be read one’s rights has evidentiary consequences, the information gleaned afterwards can’t be used in court. The failure to remind the interogee of his or her rights did not add or subtract from them.

      That is, until the Sup.Ct. in the case Hugh cited decided that a detainee did not need to be reminded of his or her rights, and that they could be affirmatively waived – and any information gleaned could be used in court – by answering questions rather than staying mum and insisting on your right to have a lawyer present during questioning.

      As Roberts is wont to do, that effectively overturned much of the Miranda decision, and forty-five years of case law, and trial and police practice, without admitting that’s what he did. So much for Roberts and his cohort’s respect for precedent and civil rights.

    • seeker561 says:

      “Mirandizing just informs and/or reminds them of the rights they already have.”

      Most people don’t really know what their rights are and fewer understand them. People just don’t get that “what you say can and WILL be used against you” part.

  12. Hugh says:

    I should also point out that the Supreme Court as also been active in this area. This term in the case Berghius v. Thompkins, in one of those 5-4 decisions with the radical conservatives all on one side, the Court decided that a suspect had to affirmatively invoke their miranda right to remain silent, that is they had to break their silence to remain silent. So while national security is a convenient vehicle for attacks on our Consitutional rights and protections, it is not the only one. Nor is this purely a priority of the Executive, but of this reactionary Supreme Court as well.

  13. andrewkreig says:

    Remember that it was Adam Schiff who led the House Judiciary Committee’s long-awaited questioning of Karl Rove a year ago in July — and that it was a whitewash. Rove in his book says of Schiff, “He clearly was not prepared.” It’s worse than that. Despite years to prepare, the questions of both Schiff and the committee staff to Rove and Harriet Miers indicated that they hadn’t done their homework in interviewing other relevant witnesses to box in Rove and Miers. This parallels the DOJ’s whitewash report to Congress on July 21 of the 2006 U.S. attorney firing scandal, which largely focused simply on the ousting of New Mexico’s U.S. attorney instead of the pattern nationwide of political prosecutions, which ran nearly 5:1 against Democrats during the Bush years according to an academic study. None of the most prominent political victims like former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman were apparently even interviewed by DOJ. Roger Shuler wrote a good report on this at The Seminal following up work I’d done showing how the DOJ’s special investigator was compromised. In sum, Schiff wants support tough interrogations? Then let’s hold his feet to the fire with this question: Why did he botch the Rove questioning last summer?

  14. PriscillaQOB says:

    And I wonder what happens when the first abortion opponent or the first militia member experiences this “some pigs are more equal than than other pigs” moment? When a “good, white, evangelical Christian tea bagger gets tortured for 4 days before seeing an attorney?

    Oh, that’s right. This would only apply to brown people of foreign extraction and DFH’s, right?

  15. dustbunny44 says:

    Thanks EW.
    You keep coming up with surprising items that make me ask myself “why is this administration doing THAT?”
    I can only guess at the possible answers.

  16. darkblack says:

    I have always assumed that there is and was a large degree of complicity for the diminishing of individual and collective rights shared between the poles of ideology within the American political sphere. Whether this was fear-, patriotically-, or graft-based in subjective nature was irrelevant once one had acknowledged the possibility and evaluated the evidence.

    The Democratic establishment was – for me during a brief, shining moment – viewed as a slightly less harmful contrasting force, tasked with the onerous job of removing the incipient police state so beloved and desired by conservative elements through advocating a return to the rule of law, and a restoration of civil liberties.
    Their seeming impotence in the face of a Right-wing malfeasance machine run amok and their continuing truculence in enacting the will of those they were elected to serve were viewed as unfortunate side effects of the times, good intentions lost in a whirlwind of fear-mongering.

    No longer. They have become co-conspirators, in many cases no better than what they have replaced and beholden to the same counter-democratic elements through contracts and connection. I cannot entertain the idea of a substantial difference any longer, although individual differences obviously remain.

    Good luck, friends.


    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that is just about right DB. I did not have a lot of hope that Democratic governance would fix or roll back all the problems on civil liberties, but I hoped they would at least stop the slide. No such luck.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      They have become co-conspirators-darkblack

      Don’t you think the term “acquiescent accomplices” is a bit more pc? *G*

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          I’m around here pretty regular and don’t recall seeing your posts.

          I really don’t know much about your “style” but by clicking on your screenname, I will say I like your style of musical choices-Coltrane and Burrel,Johnny Hodges.

          • darkblack says:

            Not to worry, G – I’m just a digital dinosaur looking for a nice cozy tar pit. I go back a ways but its mostly lurking now. Glad you enjoy the jazz.


            • Gitcheegumee says:

              Thank you for the feedback,darkblack.

              Maybe sometime you can include Blue Horizon by Sidney Bechet-anything by Bechet,actually.

              Or some Getz and Jobim for some cool listening on hot days…and nights.

              Bmaz, thanks for the info,too.

  17. beth meacham says:

    My understanding is that the Miranda warning does not grant a prisoner the right to an attorney, or the right to remain silent, but rather simply reminds the prison that he or she has those rights inherently.

    The only advantage to law enforcement in not having to give the warning is that they can still use any information gleaned in court. It doesn’t mean that they get to torture you. You can still request a lawyer, and refuse to answer questions without one present.

    I think our congressional representatives are very confused.

  18. michaelfishman says:

    I see several (or at least 2) references to his being a blue dog.

    Is he really a blue dog (his voting record doesn’t look like it), or are you using it as a synonym for asshole?

  19. playfyte says:

    I don’t see this as a complicated issue. In fact it shouldn’t be an issue at all. Miranda should only apply to citizens. Confirmed terrorists who’s only desire is to destroy us and our way of life should not get all the protections of all of our laws. They are, first and foremost, “enemies” commiting crimes against citizens. I feel that the best way to deal with them is something in the form of a military type tribunal. The penalties should be severe. The death sentence should be common for people like these that would just walk into a crowd of men, women and children and set off an explosive. Miranda is okay for someone accused of burglary or robbery and crimes commited by a citizen. When terrorists commit a crime of the type they are known for they don’t afford their victims any “due process”.

    • seeker561 says:

      ” In fact it shouldn’t be an issue at all. Miranda should only apply to citizens. “

      So Miranda should NOT apply to someone like the wife or son of the British ambassador or the spouse or child of a UN delegate? The Bill of Rights applies to everyone within the borders of the US and always has.

      You express a very narrow view of what constitutes a “terrorist”, a view not really encoded within the law.

    • dakine01 says:

      The basis of those “citizen’s rights” are human rights.

      And last I looked, we were all humans, even those who wish to do us harm.

      Which is all the more reason we should treat them as we wish to be treated.

    • darkblack says:

      Miranda should only apply to citizens.

      The Miranda warning is applied to police suspects, and describes the rights of those suspects as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Whether those suspects are citizens or not is irrelevant to the warning itself.

      When terrorists commit a crime of the type they are known for they don’t afford their victims any “due process”.

      That could said that of any crime involving a perpetrator and victim, therefore this sort of ‘line-drawing’ is also irrelevant. One should not expect respect from others for one’s native or granted rights if one refuses to offer same.

    • R.H. Green says:

      You’re right on the money there; all the police have to do is observe the writing on the terrorist’s forhead that says, in plain English: Terrorist. No rights.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Miranda is a limitation on police powers, not a list of rights; those are found elsewhere. Those limits should extend to and benefit whomever law enforcement claims that it can detain and interrogate. Roberts’ cohort on the Sup.Ct. has already limited them further, in the sure and certain hope that they will never personally be at the sharp end of the police stick.

      Police, like the military, do important, dangerous and necessary work. They should be protected and rewarded for doing it well. But they should not be allowed to exceed their authority or be immunized from doing their jobs poorly, brutally or recklessly. That’s what the rule of law means.

      There’s no fixed line there, it derives from constant dynamic tension. This administration and Sup.Ct., however, seem to like it best when the tension comes only from the law enforcement, not from the citizen.

    • michaelfishman says:

      Would you please point out each instance of the appearance of the word ‘citizen’ in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments.

      Thank you.

    • croghan27 says:

      When terrorists commit a crime of the type they are known for they don’t afford their victims any “due process”.

      Is not this what the whole process is about: deciding if a person has committed a crime. It is all too true that the victims do not have any ‘due process’ provided by the terrorist … in fact, perhaps those that do not provide ‘due process’ are in some way terrorists. Are the police forces of the US about to/ or willing to become terrorists?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        You nicely point out the absurdity of arguing that its just dandy for our government to behave with all the nuance and respect of a criminal.

      • bobschacht says:

        In response to playfyte @ 39 (show text)
        When terrorists commit a crime of the type they are known for they don’t afford their victims any “due process”.

        This is the kind of crappy argument that drags us into the gutter. So then, does this logic justify becoming as bad as the baddest? That we are supposed to oppose the bad by becoming worse? If that is the case, then the terrorists have already won, and what we are defending is not worth saving.

        playfyte’s argument belongs in the “bonehead” category, IMHO.

        Bob in AZ

        • croghan27 says:

          Your IMHO stands you in good stead here, bobschacht.

          I am not sure the claim that: “Yeahbut, when we do it we have the best of intentions.” is a strong enough argument to cover the transgression. (Even if it seems to be the one put forward for waterboarding.)

  20. john in sacramento says:

    Why do I keep getting flashbacks of that scene in Field of Dreams where Annie gets up in that meeting and tells off that book burning witch?

    Seems political paranoia is contagious

    Elmhurst officials are considering creating a “disturbance and disorderly conduct” violation after a resident accused of rolling her eyes and sighing was ejected from a public meeting.

  21. JohnLopresti says:

    Associate Justice Stevvens* dissent in Maryland v Shatzer there provides a useful history of the sorts of discontinuous interrogations used to circumvent providing the formulary list of detainee rights. Scalia majority.

    Lyle Denniston had a somewhat vivid essay on the Berghius opinion there last month. Roberts majority.

    French Pres Sarkozy had a Schiffian reputation but currently is in the news for having received a rebuff from the French court about 48-hour interrogations without reading the detainee any rights; there has been a multifold increase in French rightless interrogations under Sarkozy*s aegis.

  22. bmaz says:

    DB has been around a very long time and is a good friend to the blog. Fantastic artist in addition to the fine taste in music.

  23. timbo says:

    Wait. Wasn’t Miranda a Supreme Court ruling? How do you change that with a law outside of a Constitutional Amendment? Oh yeah, right a law and see if the current justices believe in giving defendants information about their rights…groan.

  24. fatster says:

    Hard-hitting article–finally!

    Eight years after the torture memo, Obama should take a hard look back
    By David Cole
    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    “If another country’s leaders authorized torture and got away with it, our State Department would condemn them in its annual reports on nations’ human rights records. And it would be entirely justified. The United Nations Convention Against Torture, a treaty that we played a central role in drafting, and that we ratified under President Ronald Reagan, prohibits torture and cruel treatment and compels criminal investigation of credible torture allegations. Torture is also a felony under U.S. law and a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.”


  25. fatster says:

    Advice from a Canadian columnist.

    Siddiqui: Afghanistan: It’s even worse than you thought

    “The buckets-full of leaked documents on the war in Afghanistan have elicited three responses, all misguided.
    . . .

    “All of which makes for depressing reading and leaves one with one overall conclusion: The sooner NATO leaves, the better.”


      • fatster says:

        At last! And we’ve only been there how many years? I particularly like the Biden quote: ‘“We are in Afghanistan for one express purpose: Al Qaeda,” he said.” What I’d like to know: If, as Panetta said, there are only 50-100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, why do we need 100,000 troops in there to track and catch those 50-100 people over the next year or so?

        • skdadl says:

          fatster, you are shameless, simply shameless. (I know I’m worse, but I thought I’d just make that point.) That’s the third or fourth time I’ve seen him interviewed in that yellow room — the puir wee chick must be so talked out.

          “Afghanistan is their country.” Such a simple statement. Why do so many Westerners find that thought hard to grasp?

          And @69: are you coming to stay, or are you going to cut and run? ;-)

  26. Gitcheegumee says:

    There’s quite a bit of interesting background on Schiff over at Wiki.

    I didn’t realize his district included Monterey Park. Isn’t that where Stanford U is located? He’s a grad of SU-although he is a Massachusetts native(Framingham).

    (It also states that Schiff has a large Armenian American constitiuency in his district, and he was at the forefront of the Armenian genocide issues in Congress in ’07.Interesting in light of Turkey now vying for EU status…and getting support from David Cameron of UK. )

    A few threads back, I posted that George Tenet was now on the Board of an investment company that is heavily involved in the entertainment industry, Allen and Company…and they give a shindig in Squaw Valley every July.As Schiff has many media folk in his donor base, I wonder……

  27. powwow says:

    Representative Schiff’s bill [H.R. 5934 text available here] would (on behalf of the Obama administration?) declare the “Sense” of Congress with regard to Supreme Court-required Miranda warnings [Sections 2 and 3, re “findings” related to this: “(1) The United States Supreme Court, in New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984), determined that there is an exception to the constitutional requirement for what are commonly called Miranda warnings in situations posing a threat to public safety”], and would change the law, as follows:


    (a) Intelligence Gathering To Protect the Public Safety- Section 3501 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:



    (A) In the case of an individual who is a terrorism suspect, upon ex parte application made by the Government within 6 hours immediately following the person’s arrest or other detention, that individual may be taken before a magistrate not later than 48 hours after arrest or other detention and any confession made within those 48 hours shall not be considered inadmissible solely because the individual was not presented to a magistrate earlier.

    `(B) Such an application must contain a certification by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence or the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, that–

    `(i) the individual with respect to whom the application is made is a terrorism suspect; and

    `(ii) the individual may be able to provide intelligence necessary to protect the public safety.

    `(C) Upon ex parte application, the appropriate judicial officer shall, for good cause shown and subject to such conditions as that officer may prescribe, extend the time limitation provided by this subsection for an additional 48 hours. Such application may be filed in camera and the court’s order shall be subject to interlocutory appeal.

    `(2) As used in this subsection, the term `terrorism suspect’ means a person suspected of international terrorism or domestic terrorism as those terms are defined in section 2331.’.

    (b) Overseas Terrorism Investigations- It is the sense of Congress that a confession given during overseas questioning of a terrorism suspect in foreign custody shall not be rendered inadmissible for failure to provide Miranda warnings, if such confession was voluntarily given and reliable.

  28. cbl2 says:

    although Repub challenger John Colbert racked up more votes and attention than any challenger in some time, Schiff is still picked to win in this conservative district comfortably – which leads me to speculate (wildly, of course) that this is indeed a move made on behalf of the brand that is the DNC

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Thanks, John.

      I spent all my childhood summers in Pasadena,btw,and I should know the difference between Monterey and Menlo! *G*

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