What do you think is more important – the rights of a terrorist, Dzohokhar Tsarnaev (“DZ”), who exploded two bombs at the Boston Marathon or the necessity to obtain vital information with respect to further possible terrorist attacks on innocent Americans? Is it more important to protect one terrorist or thousands of American lives? Most Americans would think it was a “no-brainer” that we needed to obtain all the information we could. Most legal commentators have opined that we had such a plethora of evidence to convict DZ that we didn’t even need to use any information he gave us in court.
Some of the information we needed to ascertain were:
1. Were the Boston bombings part of a larger terrorist plot?
2. Were there other targets? If so, what are they? We know about NY, but are there others?
3. What are the identities of any accomplices? What was the role of his friends, roommates, wife, mother?
4. What are the sources of funds?
Common sense (which, as we all know, is NOT common) would tell us that (1) There were and still are likely many other targets or potential targets; (2) The Tsarnaevs likely consulted/planned with others in the US and/or in Chechniya; and (3) they must have received funding from somewhere to travel overseas, purchase the explosives, etc.
Just today, Fox News broke a story that Boston police have taken three additional suspects into custody for obstruction of justice in relation to the bombing (attempting to dispose of computers and other equipment from DZ’s apartment). Two of them are DZ’s roommates (from Kazakhstan, no less); the third has not been identified yet. Kudos to the Boston Police!
In view of all of the above, most objective people would agree that it was vital that the FBI be permitted to continue to interrogate DZ unihibited by the constraints of Miranda. But, apparently the Justice Department, led by Eric Holder, did not agree. Apparently, Holder authorized, or at least concurred with, sending a DOJ representative and a judge to interrupt the interrogation and read DZ him his Miranda rights. It is hard to imagine that a decision that significant would have been authorized by anyone else. DZ had been talking (He had identified NY as another target.), but he abruptly stopped. It should be noted that most legal experts have stated that the FBI could have interrogated DZ for 48 hours without Mirandizing him. Therefore, the greater good was not served.
This is very disturbing, but, even more so is the fact that it is a continuation of a pattern of odd/incompetent DOJ actions that have occurred under Holder’s watch. There have been several, but I have listed a few of the more egregious ones below:
1. Ignoring what many people felt was intimidation by Black Panthers at some voting booths on Election Day.
2. The “Fast and Furious” gunrunning sting, which directly resulted in the death of a US Border Patrol agent.
3. Suing the State of Arizona over its immigration law, which gave police the authority to question anyone when they had a “reasonable suspicion” that particular person was an illegal alien. The DOJ claimed it was unconstitutional and gave police authority to “harass” innocent people. AZ was trying to deal with its illegal immigration problem after the Feds had failed to do so, and polls showed that most Americans supported the law.
4. Failure to investigate the Benghazi incident. Not only has he failed to investigate the Benghazi incident, but now there are reports that the DOJ is threatening State Department personnel who want to provide information about it.
Holder’s primary response to criticism has been either to ignore it or claim that he “wasn’t aware” of the matter in question, but I maintain that when you’re in charge, not being aware is no defense. In fact, it a weakness that exacerbates the original problem; you should have been aware, and the fact that you weren’t in and of itself is a problem. (Author’s note: When I was Chief Compliance Officer of securities broker-dealers, if I would have told the SEC or FINRA, or even my boss, that I was “unaware” of a problem, I would have been “strung up.”)
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
Holder has been one of the most ineffective Attorneys General in my lifetime. You can argue whether it is because of his blind loyalty to President Obama or that he is just in over his head, or a combination of the two. This stunt regarding DZ is particularly egregious, because it compromises the safety of all Americans.
So far, Holder has been made of teflon. Nothing sticks to him. Therefore, it appears that we are “stuck” with Holder at least until the 2016 Presidential election.