Responding to critics, Eric Holder says Miranda protections should be eased for terror suspects

Former New York  Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been one of those aforementioned conservative critics of Holder, and he filled that role with specificity while appearing later on This Week, saying:


TAPPER: So you support what Attorney General Holder had to say about going to Congress and trying to get an updated Miranda warning?


GIULIANI: I do. I do. I support it, but I really at this point am frustrated by the lack of urgency that is shown about these terrorism matters. I mean, we've had three now where we've seen, you know, big breakdowns: Fort Hood, Christmas Day, and now -- and now this one.


It's about time that we stopped thinking about it and we stopped studying it. I don't know how often the attorney general said he was studying things. How about we stop studying and we start doing things, like we change Miranda, like we fix what appears to be a policy of political correctness in which we missed every signal that related to Major Hasan and promoted him in the military?


On Meet the Press, David Gregory was obsessed with asking about racial profiling, which Holder cooly dismissed as not the most efficient way of going after terrorist suspects.


MR. HOLDER:  Well, I'm not sure--I don't even talk about whether or not racial profiling is legal, I just don't think racial profiling is a particularly good law enforcement tool.  If one focuses on particular groups, that necessarily means you're taking law enforcement away from places where they probably ought to be, especially given...


MR. GREGORY:  But what happened in this case?


MR. HOLDER:  Well...


MR. GREGORY:  Wasn't it racial profiling that led us to ultimately get the most important piece of information from this guy, which was a telephone number that he uses in the plot because he was held aside from for a second screening earlier this year?


MR. HOLDER:  No.  What led us to him was good normal law enforcement. Looking at what people did tracking down that car, where did that car come from, who owned that car, who sold that car?  Doing all the kinds of things that we do in traditional law enforcement without any resort to, to racial profiling.


MR. GREGORY:  But where is the line, Mr. Attorney General?  Because, I mean, this is very complicated.  If you have U.S. citizens who are being used who are going back and forth to Pakistan--we are tracking people from Pakistan and Yemen for reasons that are relevant, that are germane to law enforcement not because they just happen to be Pakistani.  So where is the line when you talk about profiling?


MR. HOLDER:  Again, I don't think that profiling is good law enforcement. What you want to do is to see people who are going back and forth, what, in fact, are they doing?  Are they bringing substantial amounts of cash back and forth?  What are they doing when they're over in Pakistan, when they're in Yemen?  What are they doing here in the United States?  Is there a predicate, is there a basis for us to believe that we ought to focus our law enforcement attention on them?  Not based on the basis of the color of their skin or the kind of name that they have, but on the basis of what it is that they do?


MR. GREGORY:  So if a Pakistani, who is a U.S. citizen, is coming back from Pakistan today and a white woman from Pennsylvania is coming back from Pakistan, you're telling me that at the airports they ought not pay more careful attention to the Pakistani?


MR. HOLDER:  You ought to pay attention to the person who you have a suspicion about, a person who you have a basis to believe wants to do harm to our nation.  If you look at the arrest that we made in Pennsylvania of white women, those were people who were bound and determined to do something very negative with regard to the United States...


MR. GREGORY:  Do you...


MR. HOLDER:  ...and racial profiling would not have picked those people up.


Also during his appearance on MTP, Holder spoke glowingly about Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who in another hour or so will be named by President Obama as his selection to replace John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court.


"I think that she's done a great job as solicitor general, the first woman to ever hold that job, the first woman to be the dean of the Harvard Law School.  I think people have a--will get an understanding of who she is, what her judicial, judicial philosophy is, if, in fact, she is, is the pick.  She's done a wonderful job in the Justice Department.  I've known her since the Clinton years, and I think she would be a great justice.

Perhaps no member of the Obama cabinet has been more maligned (mostly, but not exclusively, from conservatives) over the first year plus of the new administration than Attorney General Eric Holder, who made appearances Sunday on ABC's This Week and NBC's Meet the Press (while the Obama administration farmed out terror czar John Brennan to Fox, CNN and CBS).

Last weekend's failed terror attack in Times Square in New York City by Faisal Shahzad has opened the administration up for more criticism, with John McCain saying that Shahzad, an American citizen who the government now says was associated with the Taliban in Pakistan, should not have had his Miranda rights read to him when apprehended, and with Connecticut Independent Senator Joe Lieberman announcing last week that U.S. citizens like Shahaz who attempt terrorist acts should have their citizenship revoked, there was plenty of fodder for ABC's Jake Tapper and NBC's David Gregory to go after the AG.

Holder made news early on in his ABC interview by saying that he himself believes that Congress should look at dialing back Miranda rights for terror suspects, saying:

HOLDER: Well, that's one of the things that we're looking at. I think we have to first say that the system that we have in place has proven to be effective. We have used our law enforcement authorities that we have as they now exist very effectively. People have been given Miranda warnings. People have continued to talk, as was the case here, as was the case with Abdulmutallab in Detroit.

But I think we also want to look at make determinations as to whether or not we have the necessary flexibility, whether we have a system that can deal with the situation that agents now confront. The public safety exception comes from a case called Quarles that dealt with a — the robbery of a — of a supermarket.

We're now dealing with international terrorism. And if we are going to have a system that is capable of dealing in a public safety context with this new threat, I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public safety exception. And that's one of the things that I think we're going to be reaching out to Congress to do, to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our time and the threat that we now face.

TAPPER: What kind of modification are you talking about, more time for the — for investigation before the Miranda rights are read or what?

HOLDER: Well, I think a number of possibilities, and those are the kinds of things that we'll be discussing with Congress, to make sure that we are as effective as we can be, that agents are clear in what it is that they can do and interacting with people in this context, so we're going to be working with Congress so that we come up with something that, as I said, gives the necessary clarity, is flexible, but is also constitutional, is also constitutional.

Over on NBC's Meet the Press, host David Gregory seemed to be obsessed about asking Holder about racial profiling, which the Attorney General rather cooly dismissed as being ineffective, saying if that had been the focus, the Justice Department would not have been able to nab a white woman in Pensylvania(Colleen Rose, a/k/a "Jihad Jane") involved with terrorist activities recently.

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