First, the good news:
[Shahzan was initially] interrogated “pursuant to the public-safety exception of the Miranda Rule,” says the GOP aide. That exception allows officials to question a suspect for a period of time without reading him his rights if officials believe there is an imminent threat of other attacks. “They said he provided important and actionable information,” the aide continues.
The bad news:
He was then Mirandized.
The good news:
…[H]e then waived his right to remain silent and to counsel and to be brought before a magistrate.
The bad news:
he could assert his right to remain silent at any time. And that is a result of the administration’s decision, similar to one made in the Abdulmutallab case, to read Shahzad his rights early in the process.
Administration officials point out that Shahzad is a naturalized American citizen and thus is entitled to the full range of U.S. constitutional rights. That’s not entirely accurate. While being an American citizen means that Shahzad will ultimately be tried in civilian court — the Military Commissions Act applies only to aliens — there is no reason that Shahzad could not be declared an enemy combatant, held indefinitely and questioned at length during that period without Miranda rights…
So in the case of Shahzad, authorities are holding a Pakistani man who has been a naturalized citizen for the last year, much of which he spent in Pakistan apparently training for an attack on the U.S., who returned to this country to attempt to set off a bomb in the most heavily populated location imaginable, and who was headed back to Pakistan when he was caught. The courts have said such a man, a U.S. citizen, can be designated an enemy combatant. But so far, the Obama administration — just as it did in Detroit — has declined to take that course.
I’ve been wondering about Shahzad’s citizenship and when and how he obtained it. This is the first article I’ve seen that indicates it might have been very recently indeed—perhaps even after he had decided to return to Pakistan and train as a terrorist. This brings up the question of whether his becoming a citizen might have been intended expressly for the purpose of being tried as a civilian in our regular court system, should he be caught. After all, Shahzad had no plan to become a suicide bomber. He intended to survive, and he must have known he might be linked to the bombing. Did he want to make sure his legal circumstances would be the most favorable possible?
[ADDENDUM: Apparently, Shahzad become a citizen about a year ago because he married an American.]