December 29th, 2009
09:43 AM ET
6 months ago

Ridge: Terror suspect doesn't deserve 'full range' of rights

(CNN) - The man who allegedly lit an explosive on board a U.S.-bound international flight deserves none of the constitutional protections afforded American citizens, a former top Bush administration official said Monday.

Tom Ridge, who served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005, made the comments on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"I take a look at this individual who has been charged criminally, does that mean he gets his Miranda warnings? The only information we get is if he volunteers it?" Ridge said. "He's not a citizen of this country. He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States."

Ridge also said he was "not surprised" about reports that two former detainees in the detention center at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had joined up with the group that claimed responsibility for Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab's failed terrorist attack.

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Filed under: Tom Ridge
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Rita

    Obviously this man doesn't believe in the rights of others. It was under his watch as head of Homeland Security hundreds of people were imprisoned at Guatanemo without ever having a hearing or a trial. The Bush/Chaney administration will go down as one of the most shameful periods of American history. His answer to terror warnings was duct tape. After being governor of PA, I knew he didn't have what it took to be head of Homeland Security

    December 29, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. GI Joe

    This? From the man who (when he was governor) had a convicted felon as his bodyguard (carrying a gun and harrassing citizens).

    I guess he thinks the only people in the world with rights are the Wingnut "family value" nutjobs in THIS country.

    December 29, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Jerrie Simpson

    Tom Ridge is a heck of a lot smarter about protecting our country than Janet Napolitano; he is correct. Of course, we all know that in today's political environment, the only people who do not get Miranda rights are republicans. It's no problem to try to kill 260 people aboard an aircraft if you are muslim, as that muslim in the white house is just another stooge of the Jemeni imam anyway. May be working for the imam, for all we know. He sure isn't working for the good ole USA. He should resign or be impeached.

    December 29, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. NotFooledTX

    Really? What country is this again?

    Mr. Ridge, this isn't an episode of 24, this is the United States of America.

    December 29, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Fed Up

    This administration will not do anything about terrorists until one blows something up, in my opinion. Then of course, we will talk about it. We wouldn't want to offend anyone by defending our country and its citizens. We are supposed to roll over and play dead, until someone needs money from us.

    December 29, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Maybe we should do as Lieberman suggested and use preemptive strikes on Yemen, Somalia, and Iran. Or, better yet, maybe we should just have Lieberman tested for insanity.

    December 29, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. tired of it

    Way to go Tom Ridge. Finally someone calls it like it really is. We spend so much time worrying about other people's rights. The constitution is for our citizens not everyone who steps foot in this country.

    We could use Ridge's type of thinking in Washington now...with N.Korea, Iran, New terrorist threats and now Russia...it would seem the world thinks we're easy to roll over.

    December 29, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Jim

    typical republican foolishness.

    ALL men are created equal. this man who is accused of wrongdoing deserves EVERY right to a fair trial that every american citizen would get.

    the idea that "some people are more equal than others" is one of the profound problems the human race has been trying to overcome since the beginning of time.

    when will the republicans just try to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

    December 29, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Chandler

    What Mr. Ridge is missing, is that we afford ALL PEOPLE the same rights as American citizens when they enter our court system. It doesn't matter where you came from, you still are entitled to a fair trial, a defense, etc.

    December 29, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. steve

    Richard Reid the 2001 shoe bomber was tried in our court system and is now in jail in Colorado. Tom ridge had no problem with it then, so his comment now regarding this latest suspect is mute.
    If Sen Jim DeMint (R) S.C has concerns about union joining the TSA as the "reason" for blocking the nomination of TSA chief, would he now ask the police, sheriff and other law enforcement agency that are unionized to be banned and dismantled . Last I checked this agencies are the first line of defense in our community.
    Why do DeMint want the country to be attacked? Is that what he meant when he declared health care Pres. Obama`s "waterloo".

    December 29, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. strong

    The farce continues ....

    December 29, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Republicans are Lunatics

    This blows my mind. This is PRECISELY what terrorists want us to do; throw away our laws and indeed our Constitution out of fear. Are the Republicans so blind as to see that this plays directly into the goals of terrorists?

    The bottom line is that if the Government can suspend Habeus Corpus as well as the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments for terrorists, they can suspend them for you too.

    NEVER allow the government to take rights away from anyone for any reason; ever. Our system works, let's use it. Anyone who doesn't believe our system can work for terrorists IS a terrorist as far as I'm concerned.

    December 29, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Let's be Hasty

    He's a poor criminal. He was oppressed by the nasty evil Capitalism. He was oppressed by the fact that another country had civil rights that he didn't have. He needed to make sure that that county which had civil rights was destroyed so that it didn't have anything different or better. He's lawyered up. And the dumb-o-craps and bleeding hearts will feel pity for him and want to make sure that he's safe and comfortable. It doesn't matter that he tried to destroy us – no – all that matters is that he is protected under the law. Tell me this, oh mighty Liberals – if an American had tried that stunt in another country, would the American still be walking around almost a week later, or would the American be dead? Riddle me that!

    December 29, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Gary

    I have to agree w/Ridge. Someone who tries to destroy the system should not get the rights of a citizen of the system! It may be a bit on the cruel side, but I think someone like this bomber guy should get a taste of the rack at the Tower of London or "sleep with the fishes" after his interrogation....

    December 29, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Larry of Virginia

    Tom Ridge is spot on correct, If a terrorist is part of al Quaeda and commits an act or war (AKA terrorism) against the US, he should be given his miranda rights and allowed to shut up. He is an enemy combatant with zero rights – a prisoner of war.

    If Obama had been in office after World war Two the Nuremberg trials owuld have never taken place, and the Nazis who orchestrated and operated the Holocaust death camps would be free today.

    It is time we all get over our love affair with president Obama and start holding him and our eleceted officials accountable.

    This latest incident has a more deplorable history then 9-11 when we failed to do our homework. The background on this terrorist attempt is a total breakdown of homeland security and department of state and TSA on multiple levels.

    December 29, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Jim

    Funny how the right says nothing about the shoe-bomber getting tried in civilian court. He's serving life in prison.

    December 29, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. Robin

    He does not deserve ANY rights afforded to American Citizens. He is bragging that there are hundreds more just like him and their only goal is to KILL AMERICANS!

    What part of that don't the Liberals undertand. First of all, Janet Napolitano is a incompetent officer on a "ship of fools"! (We all know who the captain is.)

    This was not a FAILED attempt. This man was able to get on an AMERICAN plane, while being on a terror watch list, with explosives, and without a passport.

    This was a success for terrorists everywhere.
    Thank God, (yes capital G, so sue me) that he was too stupid to detonate the bomb and for the bravery of the passengers who subdued him.

    Why is it a good idea to close Gitmo again? Oh right, it isn't. I forgot.

    December 29, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. AEK

    Isn't this where we just take 'em out back and lynch 'em according to the Book of Cheney?

    December 29, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Audrey Price

    I urge Tom Ridge to read the United States Declaration of Independence written by our founders, upon which this country was based, which states unequivocally:
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
    This is very clear: all people are entitled to the same rights. That is what we stand for and what they are fighting against. If we take away their rights, they win...their way becomes our way...certain people have a say and the rest don't!

    December 29, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Tom Ridge, the hand-picked tool of the Bush Administration, whose main function was to run to the podium, spout fear, raise the threat level with no substantiation to take the heat off another faux pas by fearless, Jet-Pilot and then take no questions, has a right to say what, to who?

    Your time has passed, Tom, find another time period to leave your stamp of helping pimp for one of the worst administations of all-time – no, THE worst administration of all-time!!!

    December 29, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. really?

    If affording a man who was caught in the act of trying to blow-up a plane the constitutional protections afforded American citizens means that he may go free then we really need to re-visit these constitutional protections.

    December 29, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. bmw

    Ridge and the rest of the neocons have zero credibility.

    The tactics of the Bush administration created new terrorists worldwide.

    December 29, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. jeff jackson, alabama

    We had a war in Viet Nam and the lawyer
    politicians in Wash. D.C. didn't want to win
    the war.
    Now we have a war on terror and the lawyer
    politicians in Wash.D.C. don't want to win that
    war either.
    The biggest difference is we are being attacked
    within our own borders this time around.

    December 29, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Liberal wingnut

    We now have gitmo north which the media surely won't be talking about!

    December 29, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. RichP the Pocono's

    You lost that option the first time his feet touched the ground in Detroit. If you had detoured the flight to a military base then the military might have been able to retain control. Not now, now you have politicians and hungry lawyers in control

    December 29, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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