The Washington Post writes, and Paul Cassell agrees, that the Administration screwed up by treating Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the underwear bomber) as a regular criminal, and should have considered some sort of administrative detention instead.
The analysis seems spot on to me. I can't for the life of me figure out why as a society we would want to give Miranda warnings to such a high-value suspect like Abdulmutallab. While there is debate about the extent to which Miranda warnings reduce the overall confession rate (I think it is significant, while others disagree), surely we can all agree that in the context of Abdulmutallab's interrogation such warning were not going to be helpful in obtaining information about, for example, where he trained and what other attacks might be planned.
Uh, OK, but the law of the land is to give arrested criminals on US soil Miranda warnings and an attorney. What legislative authority (I think we are supposed to be a nation of laws) exists to do otherwise? And if such a law did exist, what would the bright-line rule be that should be written in law so real human beings making arrests know when it is OK and when it is not to kidnap someone to Gitmo? I have struggled to find anyone who can write such a rule -- it always comes out sounding like the old definition of pornography, "I know it when I see it." Remember, the Patriot Act was used far more for drug and child porn cases than it ever has been for terrorism -- it is very, very hard to circumscribe new police powers, particularly when police so desperately want to keep and hold those powers.
I don't deny from a utilitarian point of view that being able to grab people off the street and lock them up without trial forever might prevent some terrorism, but wasn't it Conservatives, just the other day, that were arguing re: Citizens United that Constitutional protections can't be waived for utilitarian reasons? I agreed with them then, what changed here?