‘Disgraceful’ decision to end Boston suspect’s interrogation, GOP lawmaker says
April 28th, 2013
03:27 PM ET
1 year ago

‘Disgraceful’ decision to end Boston suspect’s interrogation, GOP lawmaker says

(CNN) – The decision to read Miranda rights to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the midst of an interrogation was called “disgraceful” Sunday by a leading Republican, who took aim at U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for not opposing the decision.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told CNN he “totally disagreed” with the decision of a magistrate judge to administer the rights during a hearing last Monday, more than two days after Tsarnaev was captured in Watertown, Massachusetts. On Saturday, Holder told CNN the move was “totally consistent” and appropriate.

“This was not required by American law,” King said. “The fact is the FBI was only 16 hours into an interrogation. They had already gotten some significant information, but much more was still not there. Who else was involved? What was his mother's role? Did his father have any role? Where did the radicalization start? How did it start? Are there any other conspirators out there? Who was part of it? Who assisted him in any way?”

When he was first captured, Tsarnaev wasn’t immediately read his Miranda warnings, which advise criminal suspects of their constitutional rights of remaining silent, access to an attorney regardless of financial circumstances, and the warning that any statements can be used to aid their prosecution.

The government was able to delay the reading by using the “public safety” exception, which allows for limited questioning by law enforcement of a suspect to determine if there as imminent danger to the public of attack.

The weekend interrogation period from Saturday evening into Monday morning was 16 hours, but questioning was off and on because of the suspect's medical condition, according to a government source.

Since being read his rights, which came the day after charges were formally filed against him, Tsarnaev has not answered "substantive" questions from investigators about his alleged operational role in the attack, sources have indicated.

King said the silence following the reading of the Miranda rights was a major problem.

“It is the matter of life and death. I don't know of any case law which says that magistrate has a right to come in to a hospital room and stop an interrogation,” King said. “And I don't know why the attorney general of the United States consented to that.”

When asked about the timing of the Miranda rights, Holder told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Saturday night that the decision, made by the magistrate, was “totally consistent with the laws that we have.”

"We have a two-day period to question him under the 'public safety' exception. So I think everything was done appropriately, and we got good leads,” he said.

Holder has been asked to explain the decision to allow a magistrate judge into the hospital room by Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

"Specifically, I would like more information as to who determined that the proceedings would occur at that specific time and place while questioning was still ongoing," Rogers wrote in a letter dated April 24.

On Sunday, another Republican, Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, argued the public safety exception should have been prolonged to gather more information from the suspect.

"I was very surprised that they moved as quickly as they did," Coats, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.” "We had, I think, legal reasons and follow-up investigative reasons to drag this out a little bit longer. We could have done that."

CNN’s Bill Mears, Nunu Japaridze and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Boston Marathon bombing • Peter King
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    Rep. King actually believes that we should ignore the constitutional rights of a U.S. citizen? Perhaps there is an option to vacate the suspects citizenship but, if there is, that will take time. In the meantime, we still must protect – not criminals – but the U.S. Constitution itself. If we can disregard it for our personal preference at any given time, we might just as well feed it into the nearest shredder.

    April 28, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein

    We'll find out more without his help. We can't change the rules we apply to our citizens just because they do something destructive and hateful. If we did, then we could do dangerous things to people we don't like.

    April 28, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. NORAID

    Maybe the guy that funded terrorism in northern Ireland should shut his big fat piehole when it comes to these matters.

    April 28, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. 1108

    S.B. Stein.........
    Nobody is saying anything about changing rules. The "public safety" option LEGALLY gives the FBI 48 hours to question a suspect without reading him their rights. Holder sent the judge and lawyer in after only 16 hours.

    April 28, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. lottie

    the big disgrace is the Do nothing GOP. On every event that happens they wait to find something to rip the administration for. Maybe they should try and help the American people they represent. They sure could fix the airlines when they wanted to get out of town so how about meals on wheels and some of the other stuff? Oh I forgot it doesn't affect them. This guy is a joke like the rest of his party.

    April 28, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Bill

    I say water board him him for 48 hours.

    April 28, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    King was an active supporter and fundraiser for the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist organization.

    You gonna listen to HIM?

    April 28, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    GOP playbook:

    Step 1: No matter what President Obama or his administration does, claim his/their actions are somehow endangering the country and are shameful.

    Step 2: Lie, misinform, throw out strawmen at will.

    Step 3: Count on your base to continue being the brainless, easily led idiots that have shown themselves to be.

    Step 4: Repeat as needed.

    Result: Create a smoke screen in a desperate effort to hide the fact that all of your economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    April 28, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Name

    I see the GOP is going to play fast and loose with this – we are lucky these clowns aren't in charge – they only support the Rights they like – clowns

    April 28, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. usa/canada

    they roll back your wrights but youre winning the war on terror life in americastan

    April 28, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. ronvan

    WONDERING? S.B. Stein: Are you saying that mass murderer,s, & terrorists should be given the SAME rights as ALL of us? For me, personally, once you have committed a mass slaying or terrorist act, of innocent people, you are in the same catagory as the rest of these radical, crazy, religious zealots, and IF american you have LOST your privelege to be called one or deserve the protection as the rest of us!

    April 28, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    I think he gets off on torture. Too bad that darn Bill of Rights just keeps getting in the way. Bet he misses G. Gordon Liddy.

    April 28, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Worse........perversion of JUSTICE!

    None of which, will be found in the U.S. judicial system.

    April 28, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Larry L

    I wondered which one of the crazies it would be – and King is certainly on the short list. I wonder if he'd water-board the is U.S. citizen during the 48 hours we've decided the Bill of Rights doesn't apply? Fear-mongering makes good politics for radical right-winger pandering to a fearful base – but it's a slippery slope when individual rights are the issue.

    April 28, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. The Elephant in the Room

    First of all, we hire PROFESSIONALS to manage these affairs. Peter King is not a professional in these matters and I trust the people who know the details, nuances and have to get a conviction without blowing the case to make the decisions; not Monday morning QB, Peter King.

    Once this 19_year old is facing a firing squad for TREASON & MURDER [the only charges we need to hit him with] he will tell us everything we want to know. Actually, it won`t take that long. His lawyer can only hope to save his life. He/She will be pressing him to present something of value to save his skin. That attorney should be saavy enough to know that the more time that passes, the less any info is worth.

    April 28, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Jerry

    what happened to the that party that cares so much about the constitution? apparently they only care about the 2nd amendment. Kind of like justice scalia sitting with Bill O'Reilly at the white house correspondants dinner. They don't care about the constituiton and they don't care about ethics. They only care about ripping the guy in the white house

    April 28, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. CMI

    If I were his lawyer I would try like hell to get all that public safety stuff thrown out. He would end up copping to a municipal ordinance and paying a 750.00 fine.

    April 28, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. T

    ......another gop that has NO IDEA what the ......LAW IS.............

    April 28, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. basedonfact

    1108..... The rights exist for all of us at all times. They do not begin when you are informed of them. They are always there

    April 28, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. dreamer96

    U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York
    He asked the questions..
    Where did the radicalization start?
    How did it start?
    Could it be all the anti-Muslim talk everywhere....People saying all Muslims are natural born killers.....

    Why don't we look at other terrorist that struck at the USA, that killed Americans...

    Timothy McVeigh began his radicalization when he was in the 1991 Gulf War as a US soldier
    When the US troops had the Iraqi Army trapped on a highway heading out of Kuwait and heading to Baghdad..
    Timothy began to distrust his own government, the US government, when his commanding officer order him to shoot, and kill, Iraqi troops trying to surrender....The deliberate slaughter of any soldiers trying to surrender, hands up in the air, only to be gunned down in cold blood, turned McVeigh's stomach and began his anti-USA feelings....

    Timothy McVeigh should have written a book, or gone on TV and did interviews...but decided to kill instead....
    When a seed of injustice is planted in someone heart, you never know just how that will grow...Did the US hate talk about all Muslim help create these two men?...Why did no one try to talk to them, street them away from the deep pit of hate, where no one comes out alive...

    April 28, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. Gadflie

    11808, actually it was more than 48 hours. The law is consecutive hours, not interrogation hours.

    April 28, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. carloooos

    Unless you are from another planet I think just about everyone knows....you have the right to remain silent. I think probably everyone in America can recite that by now. The crazy bomber was most likely half in a coma while he was talking.

    April 28, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. Bill

    Hey jerkweed King – despite the heinous act he committed, he is a US citizen, and as such, is granted the same rights as you or me. I doubt you would be singing like a canary if you were arrested and not read your rights.

    April 28, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This Wind Bag can't help himself from shoving his foot in his mouth whenever he opens it!

    April 28, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  25. plain&simple

    Just say what you mean Mr. King. Tourcher him!!!IIt's the republican answer to this situation. Just like obstruction is to a president they don't like.

    April 28, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
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