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Officials: Bomb suspect silent after read rights

By Rodrique Ngowi

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, April 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Pedestrians pass the spot where the first bomb detonated on Boylston Street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in Boston. Traffic was allowed to flow all the way down Boylston Street on Wednesday morning for the first time since two explosions killed 3 people and injured many on April 15.

Michael Dwyer, Associated Press

BOSTON — Sixteen hours after investigators began interrogating him, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings went silent: He'd just been read his constitutional rights.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office entered his hospital room and gave him his Miranda warning, according to a U.S. law enforcement source and four officials of both political parties briefed on the interrogation. They insisted on anonymity because the briefing was private.

Before being advised of his rights, the 19-year-old suspect told authorities that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, only recently had recruited him to be part of the attack that detonated pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon finish line, two U.S. officials said.

The CIA, however, had named Tamerlan to a terrorist database 18 months ago, said officials close to the investigation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case with reporters.

The new disclosure that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was included within a huge, classified database of known and suspected terrorists before the attacks was expected to drive congressional inquiries in coming weeks about whether the Obama administration adequately investigated tips from Russia that Tsarnaev had posed a security threat.

Shortly after the bombings, U.S. officials said the intelligence community had no information about threats to the marathon before the April 15 explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.

Tsarnaev died Friday in a police shootout hours before Dzhokhar was discovered hiding in a boat in a suburban back yard.

Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis had said earlier that shots were fired from inside the boat, but two U.S. officials told the AP that the suspect was unarmed when captured by police, raising questions about how he was injured. The homeowner who called police initially said he saw a good amount of blood in the boat.

Washington is piecing together what happened and whether there were any unconnected dots buried in U.S. government files that, if connected, could have prevented the bombings.

Lawmakers who were briefed by the FBI said they have more questions than answers about the investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said lawmakers intend to pursue whether there was a breakdown in information-sharing, though Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said he "hasn't seen any red flags thus far."

U.S. officials were expected to brief the Senate on the investigation Thursday.

The suspects' father said Thursday that he is leaving Russia for the United States in the next day or two, but their mother said she was still thinking it over.

Anzor Tsarnaev has expressed a desire to go to the U.S. to find out what happened with his sons, defend his hospitalized 19-year-old son Dzhokhar and if possible bring his older son's body back to Russia for burial.

Their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, who was charged with shoplifting in the U.S. last summer, said she has been assured by lawyers that she would not be arrested, but was still deciding whether to go.

It is unclear whether the issue of their younger son's constitutional rights will matter since the FBI say he confessed to a witness. U.S. officials also said Wednesday that physical evidence, including a 9 mm handgun and pieces of a remote-control device commonly used in toys, was recovered from the bombing scene.

But the debate over whether suspected terrorists should be read their Miranda rights has become a major sticking point in the debate over how best to fight terrorism. Many Republicans, in particular, believe Miranda warnings are designed to build court cases, and only hinder intelligence gathering.

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