Specter: Christmas bombing suspect shouldn't have been read his rights

The suspect accused of trying to blow up a flight on Christmas Day should not have been read his Miranda rights, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said Tuesday.

Specter, a former prosecutor who's served as a Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, broke with the Obama administration over it's decision to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant rather than as an enemy combatant.

"I do not believe he should have been read his rights," Specter said during an appearance on MSNBC. "I think the most important thing is to find out what information he has to prevent future terrorist acts."

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Specter's remarks serve as maybe the most pointed criticism by a Democrat toward the Obama administration's handling of the attempted bombing, on which Republicans have pounced for the decision to provide Abdulmutallab with a criminal defendant's rights.

"The most important thing is to get what information he has," Specter said. "More important than conviction."

And while Specter said that the administration of President George W. Bush had treated terror suspects similarly to how President Barack Obama's administration has, he urged Obama to "rethink" any policies it has about quickly reading suspects their rights.

"The consequence of not giving his Miranda warning, if he gives a confession, you can't introduce it as evidence," he said. "Don't do anything by way of giving him Miranda warnings that would discourage him from giving information to us."

Specter said that while it would be preferable to try suspects like Abdulmutallab in regular criminal court, if confessions are made inadmissible in those courts, then defendants should be tried in military tribunals.

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