McCain: 'Serious mistake' if car bombing suspect was Mirandized

It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday.

McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.

"Obviously that would be a serious mistake...at least until we find out as much information we have," McCain said during an appearance on "Imus in the Morning" when asked whether the suspect, 30-year-old Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan.

"Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about," McCain added during an appearance on the Imus show, which is broadcast by the Fox Business Network.

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McCain's remarks echo Republican complaints in the aftermath of the attempted bombing of a flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in that case, was immediately Mirandized and given full criminal rights.

Republicans say that suspects like Abdulmutallab and potentially Shahzad should be classified as an "enemy combatant," which gives authorities more leeway in seeking intelligence through interrogation and other methods.

The Arizona Republican, however, said he expected the criminal justice system to play itself out in such a way that Shahzad would face the death penalty, if convicted.

"There's probably about 350 different charges he's guilty off -- attempted acts of terror against the united States, attempted murder," said McCain, cautioning that he's not privy to the charges with which Shahzad might be charged. "I'm sure there's a significant number to warrant the death penalty."

McCain said the treatment of the defendant in this case would serve as an example to would-be terrorists in the future.

The veteran senator also saved praise on law enforcement authorities in New York and in the federal government for their work in apprehending Shahzad, who was detained Monday night while trying to board a flight to Dubai, UAE.

Shahzad was detained just over 48 hours since the car bomb he was alleged to have planted in Times Square was discovered and disarmed. He's expected to appear to face charges Tuesday in federal court.

McCain said Shahzad's apprehension "gives you a little encouragement about the improvements we've made since 9/11."

This post was updated at 10:11 a.m.