WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 — During the first day of questioning on Monday of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev by the FBI, the Boston bombing suspect was cooperative, supplying some answers by nodding his head yes or shaking it no to other questions and jotting down some answers. Here is what he has told FBI interrogators so far:
1. Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan were motivated by extremist elements of Islam and the older brother wanted to defend Islam from attack.
2. The brothers acted alone and from the preliminary interviews, it appears they fit the classification of self-radicalized jihadists.
3. The brothers were not in contact with overseas terrorists or other groups.
4. They got their instructions for bomb making from the al Qaeda magazine website, “Inspire.” Early in the investigation, several media sources noted that the instructions for a pressure cooker bomb like the ones used in the Boston bombings were available at “Inspire.”
5. The brother was the brains behind the plan.
The special FBI team, skilled in such high value interrogations, has been returning every four to six hours to question Tsarnaev. The FBI said that everything that the suspect has told them will be checked out thoroughly. So while Tsarnaev has said he and Tamerlan were lone wolves and there is nothing yet to indicate otherwise, the FBI says there is lots of groundwork to do before they can say with confidence that no one else was involved in the attack.
Tsarnaev who was shot in the head, neck, leg, and hand is unable to speak because of massive damage done to his tongue during what is believed to have been a self-inflicted wound. He is in serious, but stable condition after a large loss of blood.
On Monday, the charges were read to Tsarnaev, which include with one count of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction and one count of malicious destruction of property, resulting in death. The latter charge carries with it the death penalty. He will be tried in a civilian court by the federal government.
On Monday, following the initial questioning by the FBI to ascertain whether there were any terrorist links or if any other plotters were still out there, the suspect was read his Miranda rights. The questioning continues, but it does mean that Tsarnaev can now have a lawyer present.
These are only the preliminary charges, but they are enough to move the case forward. The next step is to file a grand jury indictment, required in felony, which the Marathon bombing is. More charges can be added as the case moves forward.
The White House has said Tsarnaev will not be treated as an enemy combatant, despite calls from key Republicans to do so. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says, “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice.”
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