McCaul: Intelligence compromised in 'rush' to Mirandize Boston suspect
April 27th, 2013
02:45 PM ET
10 years ago

McCaul: Intelligence compromised in 'rush' to Mirandize Boston suspect

(CNN) - House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said stopping questioning to read surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights may have kept investigators from getting valuable intelligence.

McCaul, R-Texas, said the complaint could have been filed later and suggested a change in the Miranda laws allowing American citizens accused of terrorist activities to be questioned for at least 48 hours.

"Having been a federal prosecutor, I think this rush to Mirandize cost us valuable intelligence in terms of other plots that may be out there," McCaul told reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday. "Remember that before he's Mirandized, he does discuss the fact that he's going to Times Square to detonate these other IEDs that were found in his older brother's apartment.

"The only other avenue we had to get this intelligence is through this emergency exception to the Miranda warning," he said. "But in my judgment, the FBI was cut short in their interrogations when the magistrate judge decided to Mirandize him within 16 hours, particularly given this condition of health that the defendant [is] in, and so I think that cost us dearly in terms of valuable intelligence."

Dzhokhar Tsarneav and his brother Tamerlan Tsarneav - who was killed in a shootout with police - are accused of planting and detonating two bombs at the Boston Marathon earlier this month. Four were killed and hundreds were injured.

When Dzhokhar Tsarneav was captured, authorities indicated they did not intend to read him his Miranda rights, invoking the public safety exception to the law. After a 16-hour interrogation, the suspect was read his rights and stopped cooperating.

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, also criticized the decision to read Tsarneav his Miranda rights.

"That is highly unusual for a judge to intervene so hastily and make the decision not based on the facts of the interviews and the public safety exception, but what they have perceived was happening based on what they saw on television," Rogers said Thursday on "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer. "It's dangerous. It's precedent setting that I think we need to change and correct right away.

"We still need more answers on this particular question. Once they walked into the hospital room, and offered the lawyer and Mirandized, they hadn't - as sure as I'm standing here right now. It certainly would make it a plausible thing to have happen but it's more plausible to me they were going to do another event in the Boston area, and hiding out in New York City was their plan."

–CNN's Todd Leopold and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Maybe this gop incompetence fool doesnt have the same laws in the hick state of Texas that he represents. Maybe if the gop morons listen to the intelligence they already had before 9-11-2001 ,we could have avoided it on the gop watch!!!!! Gop moron!!!!!!

    April 27, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. steve

    House members should not be trusted with national security information! Most are clue free morons!

    April 27, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. LIbertyGuy

    Wow not a single comment on this fascist crap. These pigs are just cannot wait for the day when martial law gets declared and every one in this nation of ours is a potential terrorist. Wake up people. Stop voting democrat or republican start voting libertarian or green party I guarantee these parties will be more responsive and will hold their members accountable. We will see real change and not the same old garbage that has gone on for generations.

    April 27, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Reinier Koole

    If McCoward has a problem with the way the judicial system works in the US, tell him to move to Russia! He'll beg 4 mercy! He is a vile individual who knows that it is easy to interrogate person who has no rights, THAT is why he did not want the Judge to intervene. There was ZERO threat to public safety and any attempt to misuse that exception is means for disbarment. They killed their man despite a DO NOT SHOOT order. How come he doesn't address that?? Who cares what the had planned? One is dead and the alleged accomplice is in custody, so what does New York have to do with anything??

    April 27, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Yanni

    McCaul, R-Texas said "stopping questioning to read surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights may have kept investigators from getting valuable intelligence". may be, but The land of the Free and the braves maintained its higher standard so that the world can see and learn. We don't do things because they are easy but right. maintaining our standard is the right thing to do.

    April 27, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. basedonfact

    His rights did not begin when they were read to him. He always had the rights. Miranda just requires the police to tell the suspect what rights they have

    April 27, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    Face it folks, does anyone really care about the opinion of a Texas Republican?

    April 27, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Udayan Mallik

    Why did we capture this guy – TO GET INFORMATION! Now he has shut up. What good has all this done for National security? We all know this was planned outside the US, that he had additional accomplices, that his brother had dealings with the underworld, that his brother spent 6 months in Russia, that his mother in Russia is a Terror suspect. As a Republican, I must say that this lad should have been sent over to the Interrogators in Guantanamo – No matter how much Rand or Ron Paul fight for his rights in the Congress.

    April 27, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    "It's dangerous. It's precedent setting that I think we need to change and correct right away..."

    CNN is better served to not politicize this event by inviting Republican members of Congress to discuss their opinions of what they "would have done" differently. These fools are out of the loop for a reason. Keep it that way.

    April 27, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Thomas

    McCaul, R-Texas is an other elected politician who needs to apologize to the people of West .

    He called for less government regulation on chemical plants


    April 27, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Donna

    The more the terrorist talked, the worse and worse the Obama administration looked. That is why they rushed to read him his Miranda rights. It is that simple. They had 48 hours to interrogate him to get intelligence, not information they would use in the trial. They already have more than enough to convict this terrorist through other evidence.

    Yet another case of "the most transparent President" protecting himself or being out right incompetent. Either one is not a good thing for this country.

    April 27, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Larry L

    Funny how the right-wing cherry-picks the laws they consider related to individual freedom. They don't trust the big, bad "guv-ment" but the minute fear becomes a factor they're ready to let the government operate w/o laws to protect individual rights. They worry about "Hillary coming for our guns" but trust the government to hold you w/o charges.

    April 27, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. Larry L


    House members should not be trusted with national security information! Most are clue free morons!
    Good observation! I've always been puzzled as to why those of us in the military must meet rigorous standards for honesty, fidelity, and honor before we can get top secret clearances. The Congressmen constantly violate standards that would get military clearances revoked yet they continue to participate in classified scenarios. Who really trusts them?

    April 27, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. Len

    How about the rush to war.....Irag!! I forgot, that was during the Bush Administration. No problem.

    April 27, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. Gary

    Being a Republican from Texas voids McCaul from having any intelligence.

    April 27, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    What's your PROOF that it did? Did he stop talking? Not just "..I think this rush to Mirandize cost us valuable intelligence..." If you don't have evidence, you're just guessing..

    April 27, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein

    We'll find the info out even if the Miranda warning was given. We can't changed the rules just because they don't suit the time or situation. This guy is an American citizen on US soil.

    April 27, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. J.V.Hodgson

    Miranda or similar exist in almost all western civilised states. What amazes me here is the other right he can exercise that of refusing to answer questions on the grounds it may incriminate him, and as noted Miranda is law in the USA.In some counties the solution has been to require when anyone is arrested immediately they are given thier equivalemt miranda type warnings all that happens is that the arrrest is made for x or criminal charge or terrorism charges or both and if the warning includes a potential or suspected terrorism charge the police have more time to question the individual before a lawyer or court can intervene in the juridiction I refer to its 24hours for arraignment on criminal charges excluding weekends and 7 days on any suspected terrorism charges on which he/she may be interrogated without representation and all such interrogations must be fully sound and video recorded.
    My view is simple learned the hard way whatever you are being on the spot fined for or arrested say absolutely nothing until you have legal representation and remain silent when arraigned on whatever charges to ensure the automatic NG plea is entered to all counts.
    However the main point of difference is you cannot " arrest " a suspect without giving the miranda type warning".

    April 28, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  19. Sick and tired

    I find it interesting that the very same people who cry foul when the president orders a drone strike on a kmown terrorist who just happens to be a US citizen, are know saying this guy should not be given his basic rights.

    April 28, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  20. GonzoinHouston

    I understand your frustration, Congressman. That whole liberal Bill of Rights thing a real nuisance, huh? By God we didn't sweat those details when Cheney was the man! No sirree Bob, there were Real Men on duty then, and they did what had to be done. We'd have water boarded that little snot right there in the boat, and given his brother's corpse a dose for good measure. Never fear, though, we will take this country back soon enough, nor way or the other.

    April 28, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  21. littlellizard

    Donna, were there when he was being questioned? You have inside info about how he claimed the Admin was somehow involved in this?You must be very special and important person to be allowed to sit in on an FBI interrogation. Please enlighten us little people with all your facts.

    April 28, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Thomas

    The more the terrorist talked, the worse and worse the Obama administration looked.

    You know things others don't , Donna your my spiritual adviser !

    April 28, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    The only thing "Donna" has is a radio tuned to right wing nutjobs.

    April 28, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    "..I think this rush to Mirandize cost us valuable intelligence..."

    I think that McCaul was dropped at birth.

    Just like he wasn't there for the FBI questioning, I wasn't there at his birth. Both points are equally valid, no?

    April 28, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    McCaul is from Texas, the state with the governor who thinks it's great to not regulate businesses in the wake of the fertilizer plant tragedy in West, TX.

    Kinda makes you wonder what's in there water there ...

    April 28, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |