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Lawmakers: Treat Suspect as 'Enemy Combatant'

12:24 PM, Apr 20, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In a joint statement, four lawmakers urge President Obama to treat the Boston bombing suspect picked up last night in Watertown, Mass. as an “enemy combatant.” Here’s the joint statement, signed by Rep. Peter King, Senators Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham:

“We applaud our law enforcement for their hard work and bravery in Boston.

“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city.  The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.

“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status.  We do not want this suspect to remain silent.

“We are encouraged our High value detainee interrogation team (HIG) is now involved and working to gather intelligence about how these terrible acts were committed and possibility of future attacks.

“A decision to not read Miranda rights to the suspect was sound and in our national security interests. 

“However, we have concerns that limiting this investigation to 48 hours and exclusively relying on the public safety exception to Miranda, could very well be a national security mistake.  It could severely limit our ability to gather critical information about future attacks from this suspect.

“We should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect right now that can help our nation understand how this attack occurred and what may follow in the future.  That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.

“The public safety exception is a domestic criminal law doctrine that allows questioning of a criminal suspect without Miranda warnings for a limited time and purpose.

“We hope the Obama Administration will consider the enemy combatant option because it is allowed by national security statutes and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. 

“We continue to face threats from radical Islamists in small cells and large groups throughout the world.  They have, as their primary focus, killing as many Americans as possible, preferably within the United States.  We must never lose sight of this fact and act appropriately within our laws and values.”

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