Miranda rights and wrongs

MIRANDA RIGHTS AND WRONGS…. The Weekly Standard‘s Stephen Hayes believes it’s scandalous that the Obama administration is reading Miranda rights to detainees. The National Review‘s Andy McCarthy isn’t happy, either. Far-right blogs are really worked up about this — Powerline’s John Hinderaker describes this as “a real scandal (as opposed to a faux ‘scandal’ like waterboarding)” — and one assumes, Fox News and talk radio won’t be far behind.

It’s unlikely facts will make much of a difference, but for it’s worth, there’s less here than meets the eye. ABC News’ Jake Tapper reports:

The question of detainees being Mirandized was raised by the Weekly Standard’s Steven Hayes who wrote that “the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.”

The Obama administration took issue with the notion that this was a blanket policy change, one ordered by the Justice Department.

“There has been no policy change and no blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas,” Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said. “While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas, at both Bagram and in other situations, in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees.”

This morning, a Fox News reporter asked Gen. David Petraeus whether he’s concerned about the reading of Miranda rights. Once again stepping all over the right’s preferred talking points, Petraeus said, “No concerns at all. This is the FBI doing what the FBI does.”

A.L. pointed to this WaPo article from February 2008 about the Bush administration sending in “Clean Teams” from the FBI to help make it possible to prosecute terrorist suspects. Not only did the FBI teams not use torture, but the suspects “were read rights similar to a standard U.S. Miranda warning, and officials designed the program to get to the information the CIA already had gleaned” through torture.

A.L. added, “None of this is at all surprising. Reading someone Miranda warnings doesn’t bestow upon them any rights that they don’t already have. It merely ensures that any statements made thereafter will be admissible should you ever want to use them in court.”