Dianne Feinstein has spoken out against the growing clamor to declare Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev an ‘Enemy Combatant.’
Such a designation would mean Tsarnaev’s legal protections would be limited; as an “Enemy Combatant,” the teenager could even be tried by a military commission, rather than a civilian court.
However, in an interview on Fox News Sunday, Dianne Feinstein argued it would be “unconstitutional” to label Tsarnaev in such a way. She said:
“I do not believe under the military commission law that he is eligible for that. It would be unconstitutional to do that.
“Let me say this … one of the great things about America is that we come together at times of trial. I very much regret the fact that there are those that want to precipitate a debate over whether he’s an enemy combatant or whether he is a terrorist, a murderer, et cetera.”
Dianne Feinstein added that there have been 435 terrorist convictions under federal law. She said:
“You’ve got the high-value interrogation group. They’re skilled. They know how to do this. The Miranda rights can be read at a later time. He has reportedly been shot through the throat. He’s intubated. He can’t talk now.
“So there is time to do the investigation, to make a clear assessment and to move from there. I really regret all of this discussion, which is creating a conflict that need not be there. The administration is ready for this.”
Feinstein was likely reacting to a statement from senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, and Peter King. On Saturday, the four issued a joint statement urging President Barack Obama to label 19-year-old Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant.
On Sunday, Graham told CNN‘s State of the Union that Tsarnaev’s status as a US citizen should not prevent him from being treated as an enemy combatant. He said:
“When the public safety exception expires, and it will here soon, this man in my view should be designated as a potential enemy combatant, and we should be allowed to question him for intelligence-gathering purposes to find out about future attacks and terrorist organizations that may exist and he has knowledge of.”
Do you agree with Dianne Feinstein that Tsarnaev should not be regarded as an enemy combatant, or do you feel such a label can be justified in this extreme case?