The New York Times lept to the defense of alleged terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Monday morning in a blistering editorial denouncing calls for the US government to consider the Chenyian-born terrorist an enemy cabatant. A press release calling for the Obama Administration to consider the enemy combatant status for Tsarnaev was penned by Sen. Lyndsay Graham (R-SC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ,) Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NHY) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY,) but the Times made their editorial personal by focusing squarely at Graham in it’s opening graph:
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina apparently has a thermal-imaging device for detecting the motivation of the man arrested on suspicion of bombing the Boston Marathon. He and three other Republican lawmakers declared — without the benefit of evidence — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be considered an enemy combatant, not a criminal, and should be held by the military without access to a lawyer or the fundamental rights that distinguish this country from authoritarian regimes.
The Times went on to single out Graham as “reckless” for daring to ask the Obama Administration to leave open the option as more information is gathered on the potential ties the brothers Tsarnaev may have to al Qaeda or other international terrorist rings at war with America.
Mocking politicians who wish to maximize the intelligence-gathering potential from the terrorist (as well as minimizing the legal shenanigans sure to come about from a high-profile, protracted court case) the Times labeled the four Republicans the “pressure-him-at-Gitmo crowd” and dismissed even the possibility that Tsarnaev should be handled anywhere but a civilian court.
The Times then praised the Obama Administration for indicating that criminal proceedings will progress in a US federal court but then lamented the idea that the Boston terrorist has still not been mirandized:
In 2010, unfortunately, the administration improperly told agents that they could expand that (Miranda) exception for terror suspects even when threats were not imminent.
It is not clear whether that expansion, which has yet to be tested in court, is being employed in this case. But the Obama administration, no less than Republicans, should not allow the raw emotions associated with a terrorism case to trample on the American system of justice.