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Home » Santa Clarita News » McKeon Says Bombing Suspect Can Be Tried As Enemy Combatant
McKeon Says Bombing Suspect Can Be Tried As Enemy Combatant

McKeon Says Bombing Suspect Can Be Tried As Enemy Combatant

McKeon Says Bombing Suspect Can Be Tried As Enemy Combatant

U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has released a statement about how the criminal case of alleged terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be handled.

“The White House’s announcement today that Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be tried in a federal court, not by military commission, is correct and consistent with provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act,” wrote McKeon. “However, it seems premature to declare that we will not treat Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant since we do not know enough about his affiliations. As an American citizen, he would be tried in federal court regardless of his status as an enemy combatant.

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“Where to try Tsarnaev is only one decision facing the President today, and probably not the most pressing one. What is vital in the time ahead is the suspected terrorist associated with last week’s horrific bombings is interrogated fully – with a focus not on some future civilian trial, but on gathering intelligence to prevent future attacks. Congress debated these issues exhaustively in the last defense bill and arrived at a commonsense consensus designed to deal with precisely this circumstance. Clearly American citizens must be tried in civilian courts, but the same citizen, having viciously attacked his countrymen, must be exploited for his intelligence value before any trial begins.”

Suspect Cooperating

Government investigators have already begun interrogating the surviving brother, who has been cooperative according to early reports. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that the brothers learned to make bombs by following the instructions in Inspire, an online, English-language magazine that terror monitoring groups say al Qaeda began publishing in 2010.

The magazine has twice included articles on building bombs with kitchen pressure cookers — the method investigators say Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, used in the Boston attack.

Could Face Death Penalty

Tsarnaev was arrested Friday after a manhunt that shut down Boston and its suburbs. He was interrogated in a Boston hospital bed, where he is recovering from injuries sustained in shootouts during the hunt.

Federal authorities charged him Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction, which could carry the death penalty.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and Tamerlan, who was killed after a shootout with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown, were motivated by religious fervor but were not in touch with overseas terrorists or terror groups, officials said.

* and NBC News has contributed to this report.


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McKeon Says Bombing Suspect Can Be Tried As Enemy Combatant

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