Much has been made over the past few months by some Republicans in Congress about whether terrorism suspects arrested overseas by U.S. military forces must be read their legal rights and the answer has been largely no.
It turns out that the issue was debated at least as far back as early 2004 when American forces captured ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, according to a document released late Friday night under Freedom of Information Act requests by the American Civil Liberties Union.
A few weeks after the former Iraqi leader was captured hiding in a hole in Tikrit, a memorandum was sent to the FBI’s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, discussing whether Saddam would have to be advised of his legal rights.
The FBI’s counterterrorism division said the primary reason the FBI would be interrogating him would be for “intelligence purposes” rather than for trying him in a U.S. court.
“Significantly, we are aware of no current intent to try Hussein in an United States court,” the memorandum said. “Accordingly, we conclude that the interrogation team is not legally obligated to advise Hussein of his legal rights, which are generally afforded criminal defendants in the United States under Miranda v. Arizona.”