Former Law Enforcement Officials Comment on the Arrest in the NYC Attempted Bombing

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CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or

WASHINGTON – With the early morning arrest of Faisal Shahzad, the American citizen suspected of the attempted car bombing in New York City’s Times Square, there have already been some members of Congress who are erroneously claiming that Mr. Shahzad should not have been “Mirandized.” These claims fail to realize that the suspect, Mr. Shahzad, is a United States citizen, and was arrested on U.S. soil.

He is entitled to the due process protections that every American is entitled to upon arrest. These due process procedures, including the reading of Miranda rights, have proven to be the best method of gaining further intelligence, with news reports indicating that the suspect is already cooperating with law enforcement officials.

The following can be attributed to James Robinson, former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice:

“For members of Congress to criticize the arrest and subsequent ‘mirandizing’ of suspected bomber Faisal Shahzad, not only shows a glaring lack of understanding of the law, but also a lack of confidence in the law enforcement officials putting their lives on the line to keep our nation safe. Mr. Shahzad is an American citizen and he is entitled to the full rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution. Among them, the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. And, given that his arrest occurred more than 48 hours after the attempted bombing, there’s no reason to think that the public safety exception to Miranda would have applied to this arrest.”

The following can be attributed to John Cloonan, former Special Agent in the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1976-2002:

“The arrest of Faisal Shahzad was the culmination of good, old-fashioned police work. Mr. Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen, not an enemy combatant picked up on the battlefield. As such, he was first questioned by FBI agents and New York City detectives under the public safety exception to the Miranda rule. After agreeing to answer questions, Shahzad was placed in a custodial situation and then read his Miranda rights. According to reports, Shahzad is cooperating and providing valuable information concerning the plot to detonate a bomb in Times Square. Reading Shahzad his Miranda rights in no way impeded the continuing investigation. And, approaching Shahzad in the manner described was effective, lawful and will stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. Shahzad was after all an American citizen and he will have his day in court. Due process in my view has been vindicated and this case illustrates how following the rule of law does not put U.S. citizens at risk or weaken our national security.”

Other former law enforcement officials and other key voices on these issues are available for media commentary. To arrange an interview, please contact Matthew Allee, Director of Communications at the Constitution Project, at (202) 580-6922 or

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