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Graham: Bombing Suspect Should Be Held As ‘Enemy Combatant’ If Caught

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A top Republican senator believes that the Boston Marathon bombing suspect still at large should be held as an “enemy combatant” if he’s caught.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., made the comments about 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Friday afternoon on Twitter as authorities continue to scour Boston for him.

“If captured, I hope (Obama) Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes,” Graham said.”If the (hashtag)Boston suspect has ties to overseas terror organizations he could be treasure trove of information.”

Graham feels that if authorities do capture Tsarnaey alive, he should not be read his Miranda rights.

“The Obama Administration needs to be contemplating these issues and should not rush into a bad decision,” Graham tweeted.

Thousands of officers with rifles and armored vehicles swarmed the streets in and around Boston on Friday, hunting for the 19-year-old college student after his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a furious getaway attempt overnight.

During the long night of violence, the brothers killed an MIT police officer, severely wounded another lawman and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle, authorities said.

The suspects had been in the U.S. for about a decade after coming over from Chechnya, an uncle said, and were believed to be living in Cambridge, Mass.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage of the marathon in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said. His younger brother, who had been dubbed Suspect No. 2 and was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday’s deadly bombing — escaped and was on the run.

Their uncle in Maryland, Ruslan Tsarni, pleaded on live television: “Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness.”

Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit and warned close to 1 million people in the entire city and some of its suburbs to stay indoors as the hunt for Suspect No. 2 went on. Businesses were asked not to open. People waiting at bus and subway stops were told to go home. The Red Sox and Bruins postponed their games.

From Watertown to Cambridge, police SWAT teams, sharpshooters and FBI agents surrounded various buildings as police helicopters buzzed overhead and armored vehicles rumbled through the streets. Authorities also searched trains.

“We believe this man to be a terrorist,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. “We believe this to be a man who’s come here to kill people.”

The bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, tearing off limbs in a spray of shrapnel and instantly raising the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Investigators in the Boston case have shed no light on the motive for the bombing and have said it is unclear whether it was the work of domestic or international terrorists or someone else entirely with an unknown agenda.

The endgame — at least for Suspect No. 1 — came just hours after the FBI released photos and video of the two young men at the marathon’s finish line and appealed to the public for help in identifying and capturing them.

State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said police realized they were dealing with the bombing suspects based on what the two men told a carjacking victim during their getaway attempt overnight.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev had studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston for three semesters from 2006 to 2008, the school said. U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk about an investigation in progress, said that he Tsarnaev traveled to Russia last year and returned to the U.S. six months later.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and lived in a dormitory there, according to other students. Students there said he was on campus this week after the bombings. The university closed down along with colleges around the Boston area as the search unfolded.

Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son, Dzhokhar, is “a true angel.” He said his son was studying medicine.

“He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here,” the father said.

The images released by the FBI depict the two young men walking one behind the other amid spectators at the race. Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, said Suspect No. 2 in the white hat was seen setting down a bag at the site of the second of two deadly explosions.

Exactly how the long night of crime began is unclear. Police initially said the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on Thursday night, but they later said the robbery there was committed by someone else. A surveillance photo they released came from a gas station where the suspects stopped.

They then shot to death an MIT police officer, 26-year-old Sean Collier, while he was responding to a report of a disturbance, investigators said.

From there, authorities said, the two men carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz, keeping him with them in the car for half an hour before releasing him at a gas station in Cambridge. The man was not injured.

The search for the vehicle led to a chase that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police. A transit police officer was severely wounded, authorities said.

Doctors at a Boston hospital where Tamerlan Tsarnaev died said they treated a man with a possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds. Authorities gave no details on how his younger brother escaped.

Watertown resident Kayla Dipaolo, 25, was waiting for a bus that was to evacuate her and others from their neighborhood.

She said she was woken up overnight by gunfire and a large explosion that sounded “like it was right next to my head … and shook the whole house.” She was looking at the front door when a bullet came through the side paneling. SWAT team officers were running all over her yard, she said.

“It was very scary,” she said. “There are two bullet holes in the side of my house and by the front door there is another.”

Christine Yajko said she heard two loud explosions and gunfire. She said a police officer later knocked on her door and told her there was an undetonated improvised explosive device in the street and warned her to stay away from the windows.

“It was on the street, right near our kitchen window,” she said.

As officers fanned out across the Boston area, Bryce Acosta came out of his Cambridge home with his hands up.

“I had like 30 FBI guys come storm my house with assault rifles,” he said. They yelled, “Is anybody in there?” and began searching his house and an adjacent shed, leaving after about 10 minutes.

Insurgents from Chechnya and neighboring restive provinces in the Caucasus have been involved in terror attacks in Moscow and other places in Russia.

In 2002, a group of Chechen militants took 800 people hostage in Moscow and held them for two days before special forces stormed the building, killing all 41 captors. Also killed were 129 hostages, mostly from the effects of the gas Russian forces used to subdue the attackers.

Chechen insurgents also launched a 2004 raid in the southern Russian town of Beslan and took hundreds of hostages. The siege ended in a bloodbath two days later, with more than 330 people, about half of them children, killed.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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