May 7, 2010 in Nation/World

Shahzad gave ‘what they needed’

Attorney general: Miranda warning successfully used
Pete Yost And Kimberly Dozier Associated Press

(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday rejected the notion that reading Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad his Miranda rights hindered investigators, telling Congress that Shahzad’s cooperation is ongoing and that he has provided useful information.

Holder’s testimony before a Senate appropriations subcommittee marked a sharp change in tone from the attorney general’s recent appearances on Capitol Hill, where he has faced tough questions about his performance.

With what appears to be a success in the Shahzad case, Holder said that “we will continue to pursue a number of leads as we gather intelligence relating to this attempted attack.”

“Mr. Shahzad is in fact continuing to cooperate with us,” Holder said.

After the arrest of a man suspected of attempting to bomb an airplane on Christmas Day, Republicans attacked the administration for jumping too quickly to inform the suspect of his right to remain silent, saying that had shut off potential valuable intelligence. Holder’s robust defense on Thursday – and a relative absence of second-guessing from his congressional inquisitors – demonstrated how the atmosphere has changed in light of this week’s law-enforcement coup.

Separately, a senior U.S. intelligence official said that before investigators read Shahzad his rights, “they got what they needed.”

Chief among their checklist of questions: finding out whether other imminent attacks were planned, or other operatives assisted Shahzad. After several hours of questioning, investigators read Shahzad his Miranda rights, so whatever resulted from the subsequent questioning could be used in a future court case.

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