Feinstein: Unconstitutional to Try Bomb Suspect in Military Court

Sunday, 21 Apr 2013 04:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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The surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect should be questioned under the public safety exemption then read his Miranda rights rather than treating him as an enemy combatant, Sen. Diane Feinstein said Sunday.

“I think that’s the only legal way to proceed,” the Chairman of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said on “Fox News Sunday.” She said she believes it would be unconstitutional to try 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a military court.

It will likely be a death penalty case under federal law.

Noting that Americans come together in times of trial, Feinstein, D-Calif., said she regrets that some want to start a debate on whether Tsarnaev should be tried in federal or military court.

“We’ve had 435 terrorist convictions under federal law. We’ve had 100-plus arrests. There have been maybe a half a dozen under the military commission. … The (Obama) administration is ready for this.”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., disagreed, saying Tsarnaev should be treated as an enemy combatant “for purposes of interrogation.”

“There are so many potential links to terrorism here,” King said, adding that the suspect would not be tried in military court, but civilian.

The statements he made couldn’t be used against him in court, King said, “but right now he’s one of the only links we have as far as any Chechen involvement, any al-Qaida movement, overall Islamist movement. And we don’t know, are there other conspirators out there? Are there other explosives out there? … Who’d his brother meet with when he was in Russia and Chechnya?”

The public safety exception expires after 48 hours, King noted, and authorities would not be able to gain any further information if he hires a lawyer.

“He’s going to be convicted one way or the other,” King said. “This is a unique opportunity to go into a treasure trove of intelligence. Only he has it.”

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