Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday accused the Obama administration of “letting its guard” down on national security matters.
Graham questioned why the FBI didn’t do a better job of tracking Tamerlan Tsarnaev after the Russian government notified federal investigators that he was a potential threat. Tsarnaev was killed following a shootout with police last week.
“If you Google terrorists, you will find the older brother on the Web, a YouTube video of him declaring war on us, saying we’re a Christian nation. We’re infidels,” Graham continued on Wednesday. “How could the FBI, after the interview in 2011, not pick up that traffic where this guy is visiting radical websites?”
Graham has been at the forefront of lawmakers criticizing how federal investigators have handled the Boston Marathon bombings. The South Carolina Republican was one of the first to link the attacks to radical Islam and has called for the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, to be treated as an enemy combatant.
Elder brother Tamerlan spent six months visiting two Russian provinces where authorities believe he may have been radicalized. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security briefed lawmakers on Tuesday about the nature of their interviews with and investigation of the deceased suspect.
Graham also accused the Obama administration of not taking the threat of radical Islam seriously enough.
“This administration has a hard time embracing we’re at war with radical Islam,” he said. “[Dzhokhar] has got a lawyer; he deserves all the protections of a citizen in federal court. He can’t be tried by military commission because citizens are excluded, but he is a prime candidate for enemy combatant status, and contrary to what some people say, American citizens have been held as enemy combatants for decades in this country when they side with the enemy. This idea of interviewing him through a lawyer makes no sense to me from a national security purpose.”