Transcript: Sen. Lindsey Graham on why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be held as an enemy combatant

Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on why Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be held as an enemy combatant during an appearance on Fox News on April 20, 2013:

The second phase of this is about to begin and we need to get it right.

Well, the reason we wanted to capture him alive is to find out about this attack and whether or not who he trained with, if anyone, what connection to international terrorism.

Clearly, these people were radicalized and were on a jihad mission, and are there any future attacks coming our way?

The reason you want to capture a terrorist is to find out about what other terrorists are up to.

Under criminal law in the United States, if you capture a citizen or a non-citizen, you have to read them their Miranda rights. There’s a public safety exception that allows you about 48 hours to see if there are any bombs that may be connected with the attack.

Under the law of war, an enemy combatant – someone who picks up arms against this country, including an American citizen – can be held for intelligence gathering purposes without Miranda warnings or providing a lawyer.

The best way to get information from this suspect is to initially hold him as an enemy combatant, because there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that this was a terrorist attack not a common crime and we don’t have to read him his Miranda rights. In 30 days, he would be presented a federal judge and the judge could review the case the government has regarding enemy combatant status.

So I am urging this administration – please do not lawyer him up tomorrow night. You have, under our statutes and Supreme Court cases, ample authority to hold him as an enemy combatant to gather intelligence about what may be coming our way in the future.

It’s impossible between now and tomorrow night to gather the information, to ask good questions of this suspect. We should be combing the world for information – where did they go? It will take weeks before we’re ready to do a good interview.

And I’ve been a military lawyer for 30 years. The law of armed conflicts is about protecting international security.

He’ll be tried in federal court because he’s an American citizen. I’m not worried about a trial two years from now. We’re going to try this guy. I’m worried about what he knows. And the moment you provide legal counsel under criminal law, I think you diminish the ability to collect intelligence.

Radical jihadists are trying their best to attack us here at home. Everyday, we face threats from radical Islamists. They’re coming to our back yards. They’re trying to radicalize American citizens. The war [on terror] is not over.

If they don’t, they’ll be making a mistake that will follow us for years to come. You don’t want to incentive Al Qaeda or radical jihadists in general to radicalize American citizens and create in your own homeland a terrorist safe haven in terms of legal rights.

I believe we’re at war with radical Islam. They’re trying to attack us here at home above any other place on the planet, and we have laws in place to deal with enemy combatants.

This guy didn’t rob a liquor store or he wasn’t working for the mafia; he tried to kill as many innocent Americans as possible, they shot a cop dead, they threw bombs out of a car. My God, they were at war with us. We need to be at war within our values and our laws.

And all I’m suggesting is that use the laws that are on the books that will allow us to hold him as who he is – a terrorist enemy combatant – so we can gather intelligence.

If you don’t believe we’re at war and if people in our government do not act that way, we’re going to get hit again and again and again. We need to fight back.

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One Comment on “Transcript: Sen. Lindsey Graham on why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be held as an enemy combatant

  1. Pingback: GOP lawmakers demand Boston bombing suspect be designated an "enemy combatant" | What The Folly?!

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