And surprise surprise, he’s a naturalized American citizen of Pakistani descent, arrested at JFK Airport while trying to flee to Dubai.
McCain has come out against Mirandizing suspect Shahzad. But this case is distinguished by the fact that the suspected bomber is a US citizen, which means that he is entitled to Miranda warnings (and probably has already received them). This advantage is one of the many reasons terrorists are eager to recruit citizens rather than foreign nationals for operations in this country.
Those who argue that this arrest is a vindication for the law enforcement approach to terrorism are confusing apples with oranges. Of course that system will often—and rightly—be involved in the apprehension of a terrorist who is in this country. Those who argue (as I have) that the law enforcement approach is not a good way to deal with terrorism in general are talking especially about a later part of the process, the criminal trial and sentencing. It is especially inappropriate for the trial of foreign nationals picked up outside this country as well as certain selected terrorists in this country. The arguments against using this system for such terrorists have to do, among other things, with the rules of discovery in our criminal justice system and the advantage it gives terrorists in finding out what we know and how we know it.
[ADDENDUM: Turns out that the investigation wasn’t quite the well-oiled machine we’d like to see, although in the end they got their man. But Shahzad came close to getting away:
Shahzad, who had been the subject of a huge manhunt, almost made it out of the country on a Emirates flight to Dubai, with a planned connection onward to Pakistan, according to officials.
“He appeared real close to getting away,” one federal official said. “The plane was buttoned up. Backed away from the jetway.”
Authorities said that despite the manhunt, his passport had not been flagged and he was able to buy a ticket with cash and clear airport security.
(Hat tip: DrewM at Ace’s.)]
[ADDENDUM II: This is more reassuring, although it’s difficult to tell what’s true at this point:
This is NOT what they were saying on Fox in the early hours this morning. An LEO representative said they were behind him all the way and had agents on the plane.
They said they allowed him to board on purpose so as to see if he had accomplices on board as well.
They said there was never any danger of the plane leaving or him getting away.]