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Sen Lindsey Graham Twitter Comments Stir Controversy

by Carl Wicklander, published


In the hunt to capture of one of the suspects in Monday's Boston Marathon bombings, South Carolina US Senator Lindsey Graham said on Twitter on Friday, "The last thing we may want to do is read Boston suspect Miranda Rights telling him to 'remain silent.'"

Graham also said on the social media network, "If captured, I hope Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes."

The comments Graham made on Twitter and elsewhere indicated an urge to take an aggressive approach to dealing with the suspected bomber.

In an interview with the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, Graham said, "This is Exhibit A of why the homeland is the battlefield." It was a reference to Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster in March, in which the Kentucky Senator questioned the use of drones and indefinite detention of terrorism suspects. Graham went on to say, "It sure would be nice to have a drone up there " Rubin also reported that Graham criticized the Obama administration's policy of "leading from behind and criminalizing war."

There are still many details about the bombing and its plot that are unclear, but Graham's comments indicated that constitutional rights and American liberties should not be obstacles in the prosecution of this case.

Both suspects in the bombing, Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his deceased brother Tamerlan, are of Chechen origin. Chechnya, an Islamic region of Russia, has fought two wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union to separate from Russia. Chechen fighters have resorted to terrorism in attempts to achieve political independence, but there are no formal ties between these fighters and al Qaeda. Also, no connections between the Tsarnaev brothers and the Chechen rebels or any Islamic terrorist group have surfaced.

The Tsarnaev family emigrated to the US a decade ago via Kyrgyzstan when returning to their homeland during the Second Chechen War was unfeasible. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dzhokar became a naturalized American citizen last September.

On this matter, a controversial article at this week argued that it would be better if the Boston Marathon bomber turned out to be  a white American. The writer asserted that there would be less chance of restricted liberties if it was carried out by a white extremist than by one or more dark-skinned Muslims. The article was heavily criticized on the right for implying Republicans or tea party members were responsible. The suspected bombers were white Slavic Muslims, at least one of which became a naturalized American. However, the charge still holds: Will there be restricted liberties in the aftermath of the Boston bombing?

It is still early and details are still trickling in, but the Sen Lindsey Graham Twitter comments suggest that even though the detained suspect is an American citizen, he may not receive due process or other constitutional rights and liberties.

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