In an appearance on Bill Maher’s show Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who has previously slammed President Obama for coddling terrorists, emerged as an unlikely and eloquent defender of preserving Miranda rights, speaking out strongly against Attorney General Eric Holder’s proposal to loosen the rule.
Issa, one of the Obama Administration’s most persistent critics, has criticized the president for, in the words of a February Chicago Sun-Times column by Issa, “the administration’s decisions to treat terrorist detainees like common criminals.”
But Friday night, when Maher raised Miranda, Issa came off as the consummate civil libertarian.
“What’s the reason that Eric Holder is throwing away constitutional protections that have been long successful in our country?” he asked.
He continued: “Remember this is about prosecuting people before you told them the rights, what they said or did. If this was only about finding the ticking bomb and stopping the bomb, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It’s about whether they can take what they took from some scared young kid — or some terrorist, whichever they are — and use it. Because if we extend this then everybody, everybody, will have the same problem, which is: The police will say, ‘Well I thought it was an emergency.’ And then the kid will sit in jail.”
That’s the same Issa who said last year of Obama’s plan to close Gitmo: “Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union are itching to give constitutional rights to these terrorists. The international law gurus, including those in the White House, don’t have the answers.”