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White House to security critics: We are tough, just like Bush

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Here are key flash points:

Interrogation of terror suspects: Republicans charge that the Department of Justice wasted critical moments after the Christmas Day bombing attempt when FBI interrogators told terrorist suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that he had a right to silence and to an attorney.

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.

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