Hatch calls law enforcement ‘stupid’

HATCH CALLS LAW ENFORCEMENT ‘STUPID’…. I tend to find condemnations like these troubling.

On Fox News last night, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) slammed law enforcement’s handling of the failed Times Square car bombing, saying it was “stupid” to read suspect Faisal Shahzad his Miranda rights and that it was “pretty doggone abysmal” that he was able to board an international flight before being taken into custody.

“They Mirandized him, which I always find stupid on the part of our people,” Hatch said.

As a substantive matter, Hatch’s criticism of Mirandizing is completely absurd. When comparing his remarks to the way Shahzad’s interrogation was handled, only one of these should be considered “stupid.” I’ll give you a hint — it’s not the latter.

Hatch added during the Fox News interview that Shahzad “waived his Miranda rights,” a claim that also appears to be unsupported by the facts.

The Republican’s concerns about Shahzad boarding the plane appear fully justified, but here’s a crazy idea: maybe Hatch can wait more than a day before running off to Fox News to trash the FBI and counter-terrorism officials who just caught the bad guy? It’s not like Hatch already has all the facts upon which to draw a conclusion.

I know it’s tiresome to ponder “what if a Democrat had done this,” but last year, we endured weeks of overheated reports because Nancy Pelosi said in passing that CIA officials aren’t always forthcoming about their interrogation controversies. This led to feigned outrage, and even some calls for the Speaker’s resignation. Why, Republicans asked, can’t Pelosi support those tasked with keeping America safe?

And yet, here we have Orrin Hatch trashing federal law-enforcement officials — including using words like “stupid” — literally one day after they captured an apparent terrorist.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.