ACLU Statement On Reported FBI Memo Regarding Interrogations And Miranda Warnings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org NEW YORK – According to a Wall Street Journal article today, the FBI issued a non-public memo in December revising FBI interrogation guidelines regarding issuing Miranda warnings to domestic terrorism suspects. Miranda warnings are used to inform suspects of their rights both to remain silent and to legal counsel during interrogation. Under the U.S. Constitution, information gained through interrogation before or without Miranda warnings is not admissible against a defendant in a court of law. An exception exists in cases where the questioning by law enforcement is “reasonably prompted by a concern for public safety.” Only a defendant can waive Miranda rights. Miranda is a constitutional rule, not an interrogation policy. It is important to remember that no change in FBI interrogation policy can alter the constitutional imperative that information gained without Miranda warnings is inadmissible against a defendant in a court of law where no public safety exception exists. This principle is fundamental to the American system of justice.