California Congressman Adam Schiff is joining other lawmakers in calling for the release of FBI records on deceased Boston Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
At the same time, he is cautioning fellow lawmakers who are criticizing the FBI for failing to prevent the Tsarnaev brothers from carrying out the Boston bombings.
“I think it’s premature for any of my colleagues to conclude that the FBI dropped the ball,” said Rep. Schiff on Jansing & Co. “I don’t think we can tell with just 48 hours of info. Absolutely the intelligence committees should investigate this thoroughly.”
Schiff’s remarks follow sharp criticism from New York Congressman Peter King who blasted the agency for failing to act prior to the bombing.
The FBI questioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev about two years ago on the request of the Russian government, but concluded he was not a threat. King and Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul are drafting a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI director to get a copy of that classified briefing.
“I guarantee you there’s no way that we are going to rest until we see all of the information at our disposal so that we can make conclusions about what can be done to improve things in the future,” said Rep. Schiff.
A group of Republican senators, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, and Arizona’s John McCain, are calling for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be tried as an enemy combatant. That designation would guarantee that his case would be tried in a military court and would allow U.S. authorities to interrogate the suspect without a lawyer present.
“I don’t think there’s a Constitutional legal basis to treat him as an enemy combatant,” said Rep. Schiff to Chris Jansing. ”We’re talking about an American citizen arrested on American soil with as yet no clear connection to al-Qaida.”