Tsarnaev awake, answering questions in writing

posted at 8:01 am on April 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

For a while, it appeared that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might not recover fully enough to answer questions from interrogators.  Boston Mayor Thomas Menino suggested that might be the case over the weekend.  Yesterday evening, though, news outlets reported from sources within law enforcement that while Tsarnaev might not be talking, he was writing responses to questions from officials:

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has communicated in writing with officials several times, a senior federal official, who has been briefed on the investigation, told CNN’s Fran Townsend on Sunday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remains in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the side of the neck, a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN earlier.

This segment preceded that report, but it explains the obstacles that investigators will face in trying to get anything coherent from their captured suspect in the first few hours and perhaps the next few days, writing or no:

The CIA and FBI can’t wait to get started on the interrogation, as the Washington Post reports, and the Department of Justice will file charges soon whether Dzhokhar is talking or not.  If so, that would nip one political debate in the bud:

Authorities are eager to question Tsarnaev about his alleged motives in last Monday’s bombing, which killed three people, injured more than 170 and rattled the nation more than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They also want to determine from him whether any international or domestic terrorist groups were involved. Islamist separatists in the Russian province of Dagestan, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev visited last year, Sunday denied any connection to the bombing. …

Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) said Sunday that officials had recovered video that shows the surviving suspect putting his backpack down and moving away from it shortly before it exploded. The video is “pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly,” Patrick said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Boston’s police commissioner said Sunday that federal prosecutors were still reviewing information about possible charges against Tsarnaev, and federal law enforcement officials had indicated earlier Sunday that charges might come later in the day. It was unclear why they had not been filed or when they might be.

Bringing charges in federal court would end a brewing debate in Washington over how to handle the case. Four Republican members of Congress — Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) — had demanded Saturday that Tsarnaev be treated as an “enemy combatant” rather than as a common criminal suspect. That would enable the government to charge him under the laws of war in a military commission or to hold him indefinitely without charges.

I’d doubt that the DoJ will use the “enemy combatant” label, for two reasons. First, as a naturalized citizen acting within the US, the claim will be unlikely to succeed if challenged in federal court.  Second, it doesn’t appear necessary; the evidence, as Patrick lays it out, means that an interrogation will focus less on getting a confession than on whether the Tsarnaevs were part of a wider conspiracy.  The CIA and FBI can conduct that investigation without Mirandizing Tsarnaev even if he’s not labeled an enemy combatant.  Why add that headache?

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Comment pages: 1 2

Labeling him an enemy combatant is a headache? Well sheesh, if following the law is such a headache, let’s all become Democrats and let things go willy nilly according to our feelings?

ButterflyDragon on April 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM

but torture is un-American!


nonpartisan on April 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

So is 98% of what you post…but we tolerate that.

[Because, unlike you, Conservatives believe in Freedom of Speech.]

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM

There appears to be a new Awlaki out there recruiting potential terrorists online. What are we going to do about it?

Sekhmet on April 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Well, back in the day – when we had a government who actually cared about protecting America – we’d have hunted him down and terminated his jihad with extreme prejudice.

These days….yawn. Just another religious ‘searcher’ on jihad to discover his inner mohammed. “Not his fault if some *misinterpret* the koran.”

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM

The Tsarnaev brothers clearly turned radical but even after being questioned by the FBI and denied citizenship, the older Tsarnaev was allowed to stay as resident alien. Why? I think we need to get an answer to that question first.

Happy Nomad on April 22, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Tamerlan’s citizenship application was only “put on hold”, not denied.
His domestic violence rap was considered worthy enough of ‘further investigation’ – but not outright denial.
He would have eventually been granted citizenship.

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM

chasdal on April 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Found this at WeaselZippers…..

Via Wicked Local Hanover:

Hanover fire and police departments seek the public’s help in identifying suspects or providing information in relation to two recent incidents where, over the past week, witnesses have reported explosions.

Officials are concerned the explosive devices could lead to injury or property damage. The recovered explosives appear to be homemade.

“We’re hoping neighbors may have seen something that may help us identify those responsible for detonating the devices,” said Hanover Fire Chief Jeff Blanchard.

The first incident was reported at 8:34 p.m. on March 12. Police and fire personnel responded to the area of Pine Street and Tower Hill Drive. Witnesses at the nearby Target store on Washington Street reported seeing a bright flash and hearing two explosions from that area.

Several unexploded devices were found at the scene and later detonated under secure conditions by the State Police Bomb Squad.

The second incident was a few days later at 7:49 p.m. on March 15. The second incident was near the first, in the area of Hearthstone and Fieldstone lanes.

Might be nothing…or…

Thus far, no word of further investigation to determine if the explosives were the same as the marathon bombs.

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Family of Tamerlan’s wife saying he Brainwashed her…Now friends of the brother saying the same thing.

So the defense will be…

workingclass artist on April 22, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I believe – and see no reason to change – that the younger brother was the leader/mastermind of the operation.
The older bro was too hot-headed and – frankly – did not seem to have been the brightest of bulbs.
I can see the younger leading the older around and enjoying bossing his older bro. And getting a satisfying sense of ‘power’ from doing it.

Now, though, he can claim that the ringleader was his older bro – and who’s going to say different?

Solaratov on April 22, 2013 at 12:36 PM

By the way Ed, the Geneva Conventions determine who is a lawful combatant. Following the Geneva Conventions, these two bombers are unlawful combatants (or better known as enemy combatants).

ButterflyDragon on April 22, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Answering questions huh? And we should believe the Boston Jihadist??

Dollayo on April 22, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Comment pages: 1 2