FBI interrogators were still questioning Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when a magistrate judge showed up in his hospital room and abruptly ended their work, Fox News reports.
The result was a stunning loss of possibly crucial intelligence that could now put the nation at risk, according to one former federal prosecutor.
FBI officials told lawmakers in a classified briefing on Wednesday they were shocked to see the judge, an assistant U.S. attorney, and a defense lawyer show up and take over.
The FBI said they were just starting to scratch the surface of intelligence from Tsarnaev and that shutting down the investigation may have put America at greater risk.
Asked whether Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb “went rogue” in calling for the hearing on Monday, Andrew McCarthy,
a former federal prosecutor who prosecuted the Blind Sheik, said, “Impossible.
“This is the most important case in the United States,” he said. People on much higher levels would have made the decision since there has been intense debate in official circles on whether to try Tsarnaev in military court as an enemy combatant or in civil court since he is a naturalized American citizen.
The public safety exception would not allow enough time to obtain all the intelligence needed, McCarthy told Fox.
“This is a guy that should have been debriefed over a period of weeks, if not months,” he said.
The public safety exception is not designed to give the government “a leg up,” McCarthy said, but is intended to protect the public if an imminent threat is feared.
“If you have somebody who is a terrorist operative who’s carried out an attack that appears to have sophisticated weapons and multiple cities that were targets, and you have him there to speak to and you stop speaking to him before he’s told you everything that you need to get out of him, that’s not a potential compromise of national security – that’s an actual national security [problem].”
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