Sen. Graham: Hold Bombing Suspect as ‘Enemy Combatant’

NDAA Detention Could Have Its First Precedent in Boston Suspect

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could find himself the test base for the 2012 NDAA amendment authorizing the indefinite detention of American citizens captured on American soil as “enemy combatants.”

At least if Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-  SC) gets his way. The hawkish Senator railed against the notion of Tsarnaev, a Chechen-born American citizen, being read his Miranda Rights, and demanded that the Obama Administration not grant him access to civilian courts at the end of a day-long chase that led to his capture.

It seems to be at least under consideration within the Justice Department as well, as officials have announced that they won’t be reading him his rights and are still considering whether or not he will be allowed to have an attorney or simply be handed over to the military for “interrogation.”

The NDAA has seen court challenges already from people who have a reasonable belief they might be summarily detained by this or future administrations, but the administration has fought, with mixed success, by claiming they have no intention of ever doing so, even if they totally could.

With the current hysteria around Tsarnaev, the administration could find this a media-friendly test case for the power to detain American citizens without charges. That what Tsarnaev is accused of is actually a crime may not mean much, as the administration has in the past shown an aversion to using civilian courts whenever they have an excuse not to.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of