For a few years there, John McCain was into reasonable territory on a number of key domestic issues. But he’s always been nuts on national security and he continues to be nuts today:
It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday.
McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.
“Obviously that would be a serious mistake until all the information is gathered,” McCain said during an appearance on “Imus in the Morning” when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan.
To step back for a second, what we have here is another triumph for the much-derided law enforcement approach to terrorism. The guy is caught. He’s under arrest. Aircraft carriers and tanks don’t help with this kind of thing. Hooray for criminal justice. Now McCain thinks he may be eligible for the death penalty, which I think may be correct. But to give him the death penalty, or indeed any penalty, you need to put him on trial. Which is to say you need to prove that the guy in custody is actually responsible for the crime. And the whole reason cops mirandize suspects is that if you don’t, you risk having your evidence thrown out of court. If you gather all the information before mirandizing, you could be throwing the whole thing into doubt. Which is why professionals give out the warning. They warn amateurs and drug addicts and crazy people and sophisticated members of organized crime syndicates.
McCain and his buddy Peter King need to let the people who know what they’re doing do their jobs.