Today on Meet the Press, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) had an unfortunate run-in with the facts of the Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab case, courtesy of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. After listening to Schock regurgitate the current GOP talking points about how the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab shows the Obama administration’s national security policies were making Americans unsafe, Maddow challenged Schock to explain the “basis of the assertion that reading someone their Miranda rights in unsafe.”
MADDOW: What’s the basis of the assertion that reading someone their Miranda rights in unsafe? We did that with every single person who’s been arrested on terrorism charges since 9/11. No one’s ever made an issue of it until the Obama administration and this case with Abdulmuttalab. Really, what’s the problem with being read your rights that wasn’t the problem before?
SCHOCK: Well, first of all, you suggested earlier that reading someone his Miranda rights does not — has never indicated that they talk less to our intelligence folks —
MADDOW: We’ve never heard that from the FBI.
SCHOCK: The fact of the matter is we do know that after the Christmas Day bomber was read his Miranda he did in fact stop cooperating with our intelligence —
MADDOW: That’s not true, actually, it’s not what we know from the people who’ve been involved in this. The “factual” basis of this is so thin!
It’s unsurprising that Rep. Schock is confused as to what the “facts of the matter” are, given the intense ongoing effort by conservative operatives to misstate the facts of the case, and to misrepresent the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism approach.
As Maddow noted, according to FBI director Robert Mueller, Abdulmuttalab was not Mirandized until after he had already made clear that he was not going to talk. The idea that informing someone of his rights — which is a requirement under U.S. law — is some sort of license not to cooperate is a ridiculous conservative invention. And, as Maddow noted, it’s not something they ever had a problem with until they saw an opportunity to use it to attack Democrats.