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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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April 21, 2013 - 12:58 pm

The FBI confirmed today that Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains in serious condition today with a throat wound that’s impaired his ability to speak.

Still, Washington is in heated debate about how to treat the Chechen terror suspect when or if he can speak — and may be able to yield critical intelligence.

Shortly after Tsarnaev’s Friday night capture in Watertown, Mass., Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) released a joint statement applauding the fact that the suspect had not been read his Miranda rights as “sound and in our national security interests.”

“We have concerns that limiting this investigation to 48 hours and exclusively relying on the public safety exception to Miranda, could very well be a national security mistake.  It could severely limit our ability to gather critical information about future attacks from this suspect,” the lawmakers said. “We should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect right now that can help our nation understand how this attack occurred and what may follow in the future.  That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.”

“The public safety exception is a domestic criminal law doctrine that allows questioning of a criminal suspect without Miranda warnings for a limited time and purpose,” they added. “We hope the Obama Administration will consider the enemy combatant option because it is allowed by national security statutes and U.S. Supreme Court decisions.”

“We continue to face threats from radical Islamists in small cells and large groups throughout the world.  They have, as their primary focus, killing as many Americans as possible, preferably within the United States.  We must never lose sight of this fact and act appropriately within our laws and values.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) countered he’s “not aware of any legal basis at this point for such a designation” of enemy combatant status in this case.

“I am not aware of any evidence so far that the Boston suspect is part of any organized group, let alone al Qaeda, the Taliban, or one of their affiliates — the only organizations whose members are subject to detention under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, as it has been consistently interpreted by all three branches of our government. In the absence of such evidence I know of no legal basis for his detention as an enemy combatant,” Levin continued. “To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardize our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes.”

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she “very strongly” believes it would be “unconstitutional” to try Tsarnaev in a military commission.

“I very much regret the fact that there are those that want to precipitate a debate over whether he’s an enemy combatant or whether he is a terrorist, a murderer, et cetera,” Feinstein said. “…There is time to do the investigation, to make a clear assessment, and to move from there. So I really regret all of this discussion, which is creating a conflict that need not be there. The administration is ready for this.”

Countering Feinstein, King said on the program it’s necessary to treat Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant for the purpose of interrogation.

“The reason for it is, there’s so many questions unanswered. There are so many potential links to terrorism here. Also, the battlefield was now in the United States. So, I believe he is an enemy combatant,” King said.

The former House Homeland Security Committee chairman clarified that as an enemy combatant he can still be tried in civilian court, though statements taken from him in the interrogation phase wouldn’t be able to be used there.

“Right now, he’s really the only link we have as far as any Chechen involvement in al-Qaeda movement, in the overall Islamist movement, and we don’t know, are there other conspirators out there? Are there explosives out there?” he continued. “Where do they get the radicalization? Are there mosques, imams we should be looking at? Who did his brother meet when he was in Russia, in Chechnya?”

King said people need to get off the argument that the criminal courts system is adequate because it’s successfully prosecuted terrorists before. “I don’t worry about conviction. I don’t worry about a conviction. He’s going to be convicted,” he stressed. “I want the intelligence so we can save American lives. And that can only be done I believe, effectively, if he’s treated as an enemy combatant” without access to a lawyer.

“When the public safety exception expires and it will here soon, this man in my view should be designated as a potential enemy combatant and we should be allowed to question him for intelligence gathering purposes to find out about future attacks and terrorist organizations that may exist that he has knowledge of. And that evidence cannot be used against him in trial. That evidence is used to protect us as a nation,” Graham said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said “the good news is we don’t need enemy combatant to get all the information we need out of him.”

“I don’t think we have to cross the line and say he should be an enemy combatant which could be challenged in court,” Schumer said. “One circuit is ruled one way, one circuit has ruled another way.”

Feinstein said they’ve discovered “there was very likely a call from Russia before he went back to Dagestan and Chechnya,” and Tamerlan Tsarnaev was back there for six months.

“I think there is likely going to be an assessment that this was somebody who did want to participate in a jihadist event,” she said.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I can't stop laughing; Feinstein is CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE???????
That completely explains why the Senate is so damned dumb.
Tsarnaev's, and his brothers, own statements PROVE HE IS AN ENEMY COMBATANT, AND INTENDED TO BE ONE.
Good God;
Look up the meaning and intent of "JIHAD" and "MUJAHIDEEN";
PLEASE.
You may be able to fake some authentic "intelligence".
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
If it wasn't clear before to certain segments of our population, that Democrats cannot be trusted with our national security, then the events of the last few days should serve as a wake-up call.

Jeez, what the hell am I smoking? Democrats, and the people that elect them, don't care about the country, they only care about power.

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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What we really need to do is to send him to the Sov, er, to Russia as an "extraordinary rendition" and allow the FSB to interrogate him, then arrange a shallow grave in a lonely place.
While the results might not be admissible in court, at least we'll know everything he knew...
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Feinstein-unconstitutional, Is she trying to utilize the Constitution? For my 2 cents, they were enemy combatants and the kid should be tried for terrorism and treason.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
ENEMY COMBATANT: a person who, regardless of citizenship status, holds views deeply antithetical and antipathetic to those held by the vast majority of Americans and who is totally committed to furthering those ideological convictions by bringing about the demise of the American system and will use any means to do so without regard to the harm caused to the American people, even knowingly causing the death of innocent persons to promote his fanatical ideology.

Yessir, Barack Obama certainly fits the profile of an "enemy combatant".
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
In this case, it would have been better for us had the older brother survived rather than the younger. The older brother was not a naturalized US citizen and entitled to all the legal protections thereof. As much as I wish we could do just exactly what Kind and co. are suggesting, this is very, very dangerous territory and sets a very disturbing precedent. We should be standing with the democrats here.

Tsaernaev IS a US citizen with all the legal protections that entails. I am not aware of any act of Congress that would designate him an enemy combatant, and until there is one, he should be treated, legally, like any other US citizen because the alternative here is for us to stand by and allow them to strip a US citizen of, among other things, his constitutional 5th amendment rights merely on the presumption that he is an enemy combatant.

And in a time when we have an administration that nearly daily bemoans the contraints set upon it by the COTUS, we should be thankful that this one time, they are actually publically talking about and taking refuge in constitutional contraint. Think about this - these are people whose mindset and ideology are more or less inimical to our own. Their media adherents spent the entire first day branding people who thought as most of us here do to be likely the terrorists responsible for this attack. They would like nothing better than for us to be the people responsible for domestic terror attacks, for US and people like US to be the terrorists or connected to them. And, here you go wanting to set the precedent that might eventually allow them to strip US and people like US of our constitutional rights on the mere suspicion of being terrorists or enemy combatants.

As much as Tsarnaev deserves to be buried up to his neck in an angry fire ant mound, this is still one precedent we should not be chomping at the bit to let them set for our own good.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dershowitz says the desire of the senators to classify the bomber as an "enemy combatant" underscores their lack of legal knowledge. (The Gitmo detainees should be tried via military tribunal -- since they are not American citizens, and were apprehended on the battlefield.) The boston bomber is an American citizen and committed his crimes on American soil -- hence he should be tried in a Federal court (unlike those in Gitmo).
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can't stop laughing; Feinstein is CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE???????
That completely explains why the Senate is so damned dumb.
Tsarnaev's, and his brothers, own statements PROVE HE IS AN ENEMY COMBATANT, AND INTENDED TO BE ONE.
Good God;
Look up the meaning and intent of "JIHAD" and "MUJAHIDEEN";
PLEASE.
You may be able to fake some authentic "intelligence".
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
And by the way, who was that moron on Fox Sunday with Chris Wallace who said that bombing WASN'T TERRORISM?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
That was terrorism expert Philip Mudd.
I think he had his name legally changed from Fudd.
Apparently one of Obama's premiere advisors that was convinced, through years of therapy, that Bugs Bunny wasn't a tewowist.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even if he were tried as an "enemy combatant", what would that mean? A trial by the U.S. Army? If so, well, they can't even do a half assed job of even trying Major Allah Ackbar who murdered far more and on an Army base no less. The U.S. Army seems to go into a petrified state at the simple mention of Islam.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
We can't question him...but we COULD drop a Hedkfire missile in his lap.

(this idiotic site won't let me say the real name...where are you, Roger?)

It's like an Obama or Hillary Clinton press conference. It may end up with somebody dying, but "we don't take any questions".

The Agenda Media didn't think religious fervor was off the table when it was possibly a "right wing extremist". Now, however...religious zealotry is a "non-issue".

And...we need to get to the "root causes" for these two lads becoming "disaffected youth".

And, finally...they LOVE to call these two "Caucasians". But, that's not what they mean. They mean to say "blame whites". But, they are from Chechnya. They are closer to being Turks than they are Western European.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"[Should Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be designated an] enemy combatant?"

Absolutely not! Not unless you want to have an assumed perpetual state of war to justify the surpression of more and more of our God given/Natural/Constitutional rights, until we have none left, as McCain and Graham want. We have already completely lost the Fourth Amendment at airports. He should be treated like Timothy McVay and James Holmes. I would rather die still something of a free man than be a slave to the State with little, if any, increased security anyway.

No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country. - Alexis de Tocqueville

Those who sacrifice liberty (and a lot of it) for security (and not much of it either) deserve neither. - Benjamin Franklin

Some of the current worship of powerful executives (like those who can declare American citizens on U.S. soil, enemy combatants on just their own say so) may come from those who admire strength and accomplishment of any sort. Others hail the display of Presidential strength … simply because they approve of the result reached by the use of power. This is nothing less than the totalitarian philosophy that the end justifies the means….IF EVER THERE WAS A PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT TOTALLY AT WAR WITH THAT OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS, IT IS THIS ONE - Barry Goldwater
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Step 1: convict him
Step 2: give him life without parole
Step 3: revoke his citizenship as he's joined a war against the US & his oath was made in bad faith
Step 4: Have the oh so compassionate Vladimir Putin request that he serve his sentence over in Russia so his parents could more easily visit.
Step 5: Give him the option - cooperation gets him the choice of where he wants to serve his sentence, US or Russia. Noncooperation gets him a Russian prison life without parole sentence.
Step 6: Warm up the tape recorders or note pads for his bean spilling.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I am not aware of any evidence so far that the Boston suspect is part of any organized group..."

How about Islam, isn't that belief system an organized group? Its adherents have a name, Moslems, they meet in organized places called mosques, they're officially recognized as a religion by the government, they have institutes and outreach groups, hell, they even have a civil rights group called CAIR. We taxpayers even fund and arm several Moslem countries, up to and including Mo-Bro-Hood run Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

It's a dang shame about all the Jihad terror war connections those countries, and Pakistan, and even CAIR are recognized to have. But hey, these are Moslems, and terror is what they do, so we taxpayers should pay them something to keep the (relative) peace.

Here are a couple of clues the FBI might wanna look into:

"I shall terrorize the Infidels."
- Allah (the Moslem deity)

"I have been made victorious by terror."
- Holy Prophet Mohammed (Islam's inspirational and spiritual leader)
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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