Petraeus: We Don’t Read Detainees Their Miranda Rights

Created: June 11, 2009 10:53 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

If you didn’t wade through the details of counterinsurgency strategy in Spencer’s liveblog of Gen. David Petraeus’ keynote speech this morning at the Center for a New American Security conference, you may have missed this interesting nugget: Petraeus tore down a Weekly Standard report that the FBI was reading Miranda rights to detainees captured in Afghanistan.

“The real rumor yesterday is whether our forces were reading Miranda rights to detainees and the answer to that is no,” Petraeus said today.

The Weekly Standard piece, published on the magazine’s Website yesterday, claimed 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 Republican in question was Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, who told the Standard:

The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) then jumped into the fray:

When they mirandize a suspect, the first thing they do is warn them that they have the ‘right to remain silent.’ It would seem the last thing we want is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other al-Qaeda terrorist to remain silent. Our focus should be on preventing the next attack, not giving radical jihadists a new tactic to resist interrogation–lawyering up.

I’m not sure where Rogers and co. got their information, but it seems safe to assume that Petraeus would be in the know here, and his denial is unambiguous.