Raising the question of whether she’s actually been paying attention to the news this week, this morning on Fox News Liz Cheney attacked the Obama administration’s handling of attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad as “insufficient,” insisting that the administration’s “first instinct is to inform him [Shahzad] that he’s got the right to remain silent”:
CHENEY: When the administration captures a terrorist and their first instinct is to inform him that he’s got the right to remain silent, that is exactly the wrong way to win this war. When we capture a terrorist, our first instinct has got to be: How do we understand the networks to which this terrorist is connected? How do we understand where he was trained? How do we understand who the leadership is? The administration is approaching this, and again this morning you had John Brennan saying, “Well, this was one-off because he drove the truck alone.” That doesn’t even make sense, it’s inexplicable. But if you aren’t willing to acknowledge that you’re facing a committed network of terrorists as your enemies, and that it’s radical jihadist Islam, then your response to that is gonna be, by definition, insufficient time and time again.
What’s inexplicable is why Liz Cheney is treated as a national security expert. First of all, informing a suspect — in this case, a U.S. citizen — of his or her right to remain silent is the law. It says an enormous amount (none of it good) about Cheney’s understanding of and respect for that law that she thinks that the administration’s concern for it should be grounds for attack.
Second, the fact of the matter — which by now should be well known by anyone claiming to be interested in keeping America safe — is that when Faisal Shahzad was apprehended (just over 53 hours of having parked his vehicle in Times Square), the arresting agents invoked the “security exception” in order to immediately question Shahzad about imminent threats before informing him of his right to remain silent.
Asked on Friday whether Mirandizing Shahzad had impeded the ongoing investigation, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “No, it did not. As we have seen in prior investigations, the giving of Miranda warnings has not deterred people from talking to us, and Mr. Shahzad is, in fact, continuing to cooperate with us.” But, in Liz Cheney’s world, this represents a failure.
There’s really no mystery as to why Cheney says these things. She’s a political hack trying to boost her career and her father’s tragic legacy, for whom no attack on Obama is too specious or dishonest. The question is whether she’ll ever agree to appear on a forum where her arguments can actually be challenged, or stay within the safe confines of the Fox News bubble. Rachel Maddow has repeatedly invited her on her show, but Cheney has, unsurprisingly, yet to accept.