Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate and the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called the move “irresponsible” and “dangerous.”
White House officials, speaking on background, told reporters that Mr. Abdulmutallab’s family had been brought to Washington and persuaded him to respond to questions. He was talking, they said, so no harm was done by “Mirandizing” him. A timeline of events released by the White House Sunday shows that Abdulmutullab was read his rights nine hours after being taken into custody, and for much of that time, he was in surgery.
Abdulmutallab was charged in a criminal court on Dec. 26, a move that also signaled that the Justice Department was proceeding with an understanding that the suspect had the rights of a criminal defendant.
The GOP blow back has been unrelenting. On Feb. 10, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) of Michigan called for chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to resign, after Mr. Brennan said he had consulted with GOP leaders and top intelligence officials on the decision to treat Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant. Republican leaders say they received no details.
In a Feb. 3 letter to Senate Republicans, Mr. Holder wrote that the Bush administration used the criminal justice system to convict more than 300 people on terrorism-related charges, including attempted shoe-bomber Richard Reid (who was also Mirandized). “Those policies and practices, which were not criticized when employed by previous administrations, have been and remain extremely effective in protecting national security,” he said.