Last week, three people were killed and dozens were injured when two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Law enforcement officers spent most of the week trying to capture the two suspects — one of which died in a shootout with police. The surviving suspect was shot in the neck.


McCain, Ayotte and Graham called for the living suspect to be treated as an enemy combatant and to allow law enforcement to interrogate him before he was Mirandized. They criticized the Obama administration for doing just that, but for only two days.

“Soon after questioning him this way, the administration quickly reversed itself and read the suspect his Miranda rights … They gave up the right to question him about future terrorist plots,” McCain said. “Does anyone truly believe that our national security personnel gathered all the intelligence they could from a suspect that couldn’t talk in just two days?”

The senators said they were not suggesting that the suspect — a U.S. citizen — be indefinitely detained, but they complained that the U.S. court system is not a good venue for interrogation, because the suspect has the right to remain silent.

“He’ll be given all the rights of a federal court; we never suggested otherwise,” Graham said. “[But] how do you gather intelligence in that system? … We don’t want to limit ourselves as a nation in asking about future attacks … Is that really smart? Now you’re having to plea bargain in order to get intelligence.”

McCain said that people who say the United States shouldn’t be considered part of the battlefield make the country “more vulnerable” to future domestic attacks.

The suspects of the Boston Marathon bombings have been linked to Islamic extremists in Chechnya. McCain, Ayotte and Graham said investigators should have been allowed to interrogate the suspect longer in order to know more about his Islamic connections, and to possibly prevent future attacks because “they want to destroy our way of life.”

“If we pretend that the homeland, the United States of America, is not a part of this battle, I fear it will only be a matter of time before we learn this lesson the hard way,” McCain said.