April 22, 2013

Debate rages on how to handle Boston bombing suspect

Should he be treated as an enemy of the state or like a common criminal?

By CAROL ROSENBERG The Miami Herald

(Continued from page 1)

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President Obama has “made clear that this administration, as a matter of policy, will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens, regardless of their place of capture,” a Justice Department official said.

2013 File photo/The Associated Press

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For complete coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt, click here.

While the Bush administration chose to process certain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants, the official said, President Obama has “made clear that this administration, as a matter of policy, will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens, regardless of their place of capture.”

Federal officials invoked a “public safety exception” to postpone Tsarnaev’s right to an attorney. The exception, the Justice Department official said, “allows for law enforcement to quickly interrogate a suspected terrorist without giving Miranda warnings under certain circumstances to gain critical intelligence and national security information.”

Federal officials invoked the exception almost immediately after the alleged terrorist’s capture. The process to categorize a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant “would take considerable time,” the Justice official said.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said Sunday that the senator agreed with Graham on how to proceed and that news reports Sunday had “mischaracterized” McCain’s desire to send Tsarnaev to Guantanamo. The offices of Ayotte and King, who appeared to support making Tsarnaev a military prisoner, did not respond to emailed requests for clarification.

Graham invoked his 30 years of experience as a military lawyer to essentially confront the White House in broadcast comments.

“He’s not entitled to Miranda rights if he’s a terrorist who’s associated himself with enemies of the nation,” he said on Fox television Saturday night. “No American citizen is immune from having the law of war applied to them if they collaborate with the enemy.”

Designating him as an enemy combatant would keep him away from a lawyer and give the FBI and CIA time to interrogate him, Graham said. “I want to find out if he was in fact involved with al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. Clearly he is a prime candidate for that designation.”

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