Even as the surviving 19-year-old Boston Marathon Bombing suspect was formally charged in a Massachusetts hospital room with federal terrorism offenses, some prominent GOP senators still insist that he should have been charged as an enemy combatant.
“I strongly disagree with the Obama Administration's decision to rule out enemy combatant status for the suspect at this time,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted on Monday.
Graham and Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rep. Peter King of New York had issued a joint statement on Saturday calling for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be held as an enemy combatant, which would have potentially given investigators more latitude to question him about other plots.
Dzhokhar suffered multiple gunshot wounds before being taken into custody on Friday, including a gunshot wound to the throat, which made it difficult for him to speak.
“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city,” according to the joint statement by GOP lawmakers. “The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.
“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent.”
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King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said on social media that he has personally had extensive security briefings for eight years and the Chechens “never came up,” adding that he believes Tsarnaev has information that would best be obtained if he were to be designated an enemy combatant by the Obama administration.
“I don't worry about Tsarnaev being convicted b/c he will be. I want the intel to save American lives,” King tweeted on Monday.
Legal experts, including Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, nevertheless disagreed.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Dershowitz insisted that federal investigators would have been on “shaky constitutional grounds” if they tried to interrogate Tsarnaev without first reading him his Miranda rights, and that there was “absolutely” no grounds to hold the suspect as an enemy combatant.
“It’s foolish to try it in this case,” Dershowitz asserted. “Now if you had somebody who was arrested abroad for blowing up an American embassy or something like that you can make that case, but you can’t make it in a situation where the crime is so domestic as this one is.”
CNN, citing a government source, reported late Monday that Tsarnaev has already told investigators that his older brother Tamerlan was the driving force behind the horrific bombing attack on the Boston Marathon a week ago and that the two were not working with any international terrorist groups.
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