Obama wants "limited flexibility" on Miranda
As you know, over the weekend Eric Holder made the surprise announcement that the administration is seeking ways to create a broad exception to the Miranda rule. Absent details, it was hard to evaluate the proposal or the administration's motives in announcing it.
But at the press briefing just now, Robert Gibbs shed a bit more light on what the administration wants. The phrase of choice: "Limited flexibility."
Asked whether the administration was looking for a "legislative vehicle" to expand interrogations without Miranda, Gibbs replied:
The president is interested in limited flexibility. The president believes that the law that we have in place is an important one. And obviously any change that takes place would have to be done legislatively.
This suggests that the administration is interested in tweaking the law, rather than dramatically changing it, in order to give interrogators more time to question suspects before Mirandizing them. At the same time, though, Gibbs confirmed that, yes, the administration is seeking a legislative change to existing law.
Until we know more it will remain tough to evaluate how big a deal this is or to take a stab at divining the motives for it. For now, though, it's hard to see how any push to change existing law squares with the administration's previous claims that Mirandizing the Christmas Day bomb plotter and the Times Square suspect had no impact on the interrogation of the two men.
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