A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week's top national news stories.
A panel of experts joins Diane for an update on the Boston Marathon bombers and what the deadly incident could mean for keeping Americans safe.
- Kiersten Todt president and managing partner at Liberty Group Ventures.
- Devlin Barrett reporter covering security and law enforcement for The Wall Street Journal.
- David Cole law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and author of "The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable." His previous books include "Less Safe, Less Free" and "Terrorism and the Constitution."
- Tom Gjelten NPR national security correspondent and author of "Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause."
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is hospitalized and in custody. One week after the explosions, which killed three and wounded nearly 180 at the Boston Marathon, the city will mark the traumatic week with a moment of silence.
MS. DIANE REHMHere in the studio to talk about the latest in the investigation as well as the legal, political and security ramifications: Devlin Barrett of The Wall Street Journal, Kiersten Todt of Liberty Group Ventures, David Cole of Georgetown University Law Center and Tom Gjelten of NPR. Do join us, 800-433-8850. Send us your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Good morning to all of you.
MR. DEVLIN BARRETTGood morning.
MS. KIERSTEN TODTGood morning, Diane.
PROF. DAVID COLEGood morning.
MR. TOM GJELTENGood morning.
REHMDevlin Barrett, I'll start with you. What's the latest on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's medical condition?
BARRETTOur understanding is that as of last night, he was still in and out of consciousness. And in recent hours, he has begun answering some very basic questions in writing. He can't speak or can't speak clearly because he's been shot in the throat is our understanding. And so they're doing some -- what's been described to me as basic written communications.
BARRETTBut it's not clear yet how much into the meat of the matter they've gotten. All I've been told is that there is still no reason to believe that there are other devices or other would-be bombers connected to this loose in the city or anywhere else.
REHMDo we have any idea how this injury to the throat occurred? Was it a possible suicide attempt?
BARRETTIt's been described to me as a possibility, but the same folks caution that there were so many bullets flying around in both of these confrontations that that's strictly a theory at this point that that is a possibility.
REHMTom Gjelten, what do we know about any other attacks that these two brothers may have been planning?
GJELTENI don't think we know -- we still really don't know what targets they may have had in mind or what plans they had. What we know, which is pretty incriminating in this sense, is that they had a number of explosives in addition to the ones, obviously, that they used at the marathon. They had several in their car, or in the younger brother's car, on Thursday night when they were involved in this altercation with the police.
GJELTENSo presumably, they were intending to use those bombs somewhere else. And, of course, the police found yet another bomb back in their apartment. So they had a number of other explosives. They had them in the car with them that night, you know, in one of the cars. So clearly they had something else in mind, but I don't think we know yet what they were planning to do.
REHMTom, one other aspect I've been really confused about, it's been said that the younger brother ran over his older brother. Can you explain what happened or at least what we know?
GJELTENWell, there were two cars. Each of them had a car. And they had hijacked -- carjacked a Mercedes, plus the younger brother had his own car, which was a Honda. When they were in the car chase, they were confronted by police. And they stopped, got out of their car -- both of them got out of their car -- exchanged fire with the police. And what we have heard from local police authorities is that the older brother, Tamerlan, actually discharged all of his ammunition, ran out of ammunition, at which point, he actually literally charged the police.
GJELTENThey tackled him. He'd already been shot, apparently, but they tackled him. He's on the ground. At which point, the younger brother gets in the -- I believe he gets in the Mercedes and tries to race out of there. But he throws it into reverse, and he's trying to back out of there. And in the chaos, in the darkness and the confusion, he runs over his brother.
REHMJust horrible. What are his legal rights, David Cole?
COLEWell, he's a suspect in a criminal investigation. He's been arrested. He was arrested without a warrant. Ordinarily, you are required within 48 hours of an arrest to bring the individual before a judge and state what the basis is for the charge. I've heard some suggestions that they're going to bring a judge to the hospital to do that for him.
COLEBut that's one. And then, secondly, if he's interrogated, he has the right to counsel, and he has the right to remain silent. There may be some -- the government has suggested that it might seek to interrogate him without telling him his rights initially under the public safety exception. But all of that is -- remains to be seen at this point.
REHMHow much leeway does the government have in terms of not reading him his Miranda rights?
COLEWell, if the government doesn't want to use his statements against him in a criminal trial, they can question him without Miranda irregardless. The only consequence of questioning without Miranda is that you can't use the statements in the criminal trial. But if they feel like they have sufficient evidence to convict him anyway, then they could go ahead -- and they think the intelligence they might get from questioning is more important, they could go ahead and sort of say, we're not going to rely on this evidence in the criminal trial.
COLEAt least -- and the only -- again, it's not just that you can't use it in the criminal trial. You can't use it in the prosecutions, case in chief in the criminal trial. So once the defendant decides to defend himself or take the stand, then all that evidence can come in as impeachment on the prosecutions rebuttal. So there's minimal consequences, in some sense, if you have a very strong case against an individual, minimal consequences not providing him with Miranda warning.
BARRETTYeah, that's all right. And by way of comparison, the underwear bomber case is actually very instructive on this point because that's where a lot of these procedures were sort of refined and made clear. And in that case, you had a suspect, again, who was badly injured, who needed medical attention, but who also needed to be interviewed as quickly as possible to find out if there were other bombs coming. And basically, the agents were able to speak to him for about 15 minutes.
BARRETTThey got a lot of useful information out of him in that time, and then he went into surgery. When he came out of surgery, he was Mirandized, and he refused to talk any further. Those statements were eventually admissible, but they also had so much evidence against him already that it really didn't matter, from the federal prosecutor's point of view, for the purpose of prosecuting him whether they could use those statements or not. They were more important for intelligence value to figure out who was behind and it and what else they had to worry about.
TODTOne of the things we're hearing a lot this morning is the challenge between having him as an enemy combatant or looking at this under the public safety exception. And the issue right now that we're dealing with is that, with the public safety exception, we're concerned that he won't talk once he's Mirandized.
TODTBut looking at his case, it is in his best interest to cooperate because there is a preponderance of evidence against him, all the way from the pressure cooker that they threw out of the window of the car, which is identical to those that they're finding -- that they found at the scene and other evidence that is very strong against him. So it's not that there is a case that can't be made. So it is in his best interest to cooperate, which goes to more of a leniency toward why we would use the public safety exception in this case.
COLEWell, actually, I mean, I agree that it's in his interest to cooperate. But that's an argument for giving him a lawyer because what we find often is that when a defendant in a terrorism case sees that he's got a very, very strong case against him and has a lawyer who is advising him, that lawyer will advise him, look, the best thing you can do is try to get some leniency by cooperating.
COLEAnd by having somebody who is aligned with him giving him that advice, the government has found that they get great cooperation with lawyers. In fact, David Kris, who was the head of the national security division in the criminal -- in the Justice Department, made exactly that argument, that we do better when these people are counseled than when they're denied counsel.
GJELTENWell, I think that David makes a very good case. There -- The other argument, which Lindsey Graham has made, is that after all these years of interrogation experience that we've had over the last 10 years, that U.S. government now has really kind of refined the interrogation exercise to the point that they know how to establish rapport with the person they're interrogating and they're -- you know, become very sophisticated about interrogating subjects.
GJELTENAnd it all depends on the relationship that is established between the interrogator and the subject. And they make the argument that having a lawyer sort of present in that relationship can make it harder to establish the kind of rapport with the subject that you need in order to get the best intelligence. That's just -- I guess that's the argument that the advocates of this alternative approach are making.
REHMAnd both Lindsey Graham and John McCain, in addition to saying that perhaps Dzhokhar should be held as a military and enemy combatant is that they believe the FBI did not do its job, Tom.
GJELTENYeah. This is an issue that we've seen over and over again in the last 10 years, and it goes to that, you know, question of hindsight. There have been many cases where you can see that somebody did not connect the dot or drop the ball or something, but, you know, on the other hand, it's easier to see those in hindsight than it is to put yourself in the shoes of the agencies that have to prioritize their efforts, have to spend their resources where they think the greatest threat is, and it may not be obvious to them where those priorities lie in the moment.
REHMTom Gjelten of NPR. When we come back, we're going to talk more about the older brother's trip to Russia, what we know about what the FBI knew, what the Russians knew and what the FBI did not know.
REHMAnd welcome back. There are many issues concerning with the Boston bombing. For example, how will Boston bombings affect the Syria debate, the immigration debate? Right now, the question is, when the older brother went back to Russia, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that his mother was indeed playing a part in making him feel more religious and turning away from the use of alcohol, the use of drugs, but something else must have gone on while he was in Russia. And I'm really interested in what you all think about the FBI's role in this. Kiersten.
TODTWell, I think one of the things that this issue is bringing up is how we handle and countering violent extremism which now has an acronym of CVE. The president issued a strategy back in August of 2011 which looked at what we can do as a country to counter violence extremism, and it talks about empowering communities to identify radical behavior and things like that.
TODTWhat it also talks about are international partnerships. And when it list the countries that we have those relationships with -- the Western European countries, Australia, Canada -- but what this situation really calls into question is, how do we have those type of relationships -- the CVE relationships with countries that we don't agree with on everything?
TODTAnd so when we're looking at Russia, it's important to figure out how do we create that bilateral relationship for CVE on issues that align with intelligence gathering in a way that also doesn't support or encourage what we disagree with, and how Russia defines terrorism and their domestic issues? And I think this will be the new debate on CVE because there are countries that we need to be working with with whom we don't agree on many other issues. And so how do we create those relationships in that bilateral arrangement?
BARRETTAnd you -- all those points are exactly right, and you also have to think about the broader relationship between Russia and the U.S. specifically and the broader relationship between Russian intelligence services and the U.S. intelligence services specifically, meaning the FBI in this instance. These are not organizations that are best of friends necessarily.
REHMBut they did communicate to a certain extend.
BARRETTAnd they communicate to a certain extend, and they shared worries to a certain extend. And at some point, as best we can tell, both sides decided that this was a guy they didn't need to look at any further because, remember, the concerns about him are expressed in 2011. He makes the travel back to Russia in 2012, and there's nothing to indicate at this point that Russian intelligence services track him or monitored him at all. That may change, but that's what we know right now.
GJELTENYou know, one thing that we do not know is what specifically the Russians had learned about him or suspected that prompted this request for information from the FBI because at the point that the Russians made that request in 2011, he had not yet gone back to Russia. So they presumably had some line on what he was doing in the U.S. at the time. Now, how do the Russians know what Tamerlan is doing in the U.S.?
GJELTENIt seems to me about the only thing that they could have had access to at that point would be his Internet online connection, perhaps, with extremist groups in Russia. They -- that -- they may have been alerted to that, but he had -- it wasn't as though he had been in Russia doing anything that prompted the Russian intelligence service to get concerned about him.
TODTThere are initial preliminary investigative reports that are saying that they identify Tamerlan meeting with a militant Islamic underground individual at a mosque, and that there are six meetings in the time while he was in Russia in -- last year. And when they went to pursue and identify that individual and then went to find Tamerlan, they had both disappeared. We're also hearing that there was a report from the FSB that came to the FBI file on a case with Tamerlan last November.
TODTAnd what Russia is reporting is that they didn't hear a response from the FBI. We have to be careful not to speculate too much because this is -- this can turn into a he said, she said. And as Devlin made the point earlier, there is a cooperation but there's a little bit of a love/hate relationship between the two. Nonetheless, these are important, I think, events and data that we need to be looking at as we understand what exactly Tamerlan was doing when he was in Russia.
REHMDid the -- or does it appear to the relationship between the older and the younger brother changed after the older brother returned to the States, Devlin?
BARRETTI think what's interesting about the relationship, as you talk to people who knew the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- and they seemed to have virtually no perception whatsoever of the older brother. As best we can tell so far, the younger brother seems to have had a social life with his friends in college and in high school and that stuff that had no bearing or no interaction with his older brother.
BARRETTBut he clearly had a significant relationship with his older brother that was not -- that did not translate. It makes me wonder as a reporter if he essentially had two very different parts of his life and that he was one person with one group of people and another person within his family structure.
GJELTENYou know, Diane, there's something interesting here. For many years, we've been less affected by Islamist militancy in this country than in Europe, and the explanation has always been that Muslims in this country are much more integrated into American life than Muslims are in the U.K. or in France or in Germany. And that's why they've, you know, had more -- they've dealt more with radicalism in those countries than we had in this country.
GJELTENYou know, one of the troubling things, I think, about this case is it suggests that maybe that -- is that era over, you know? Can we no longer sort of be comfortable with the extent to which people are integrated into American life, and this idea that sort of being integrated into American life has kind of moderating, liberalizing effect on you? I mean, that's because Jahar in particular seemed to be as integrated into American society as an outsider could possibly be.
REHMHere is an email from Jack who says, "I'm often amazed at how these public conversations are parsed. It's time to look at these systemic problems we have in our increasingly global culture. Spin it how you will. Now, we have seen a 24-hour martial law declared in a major U.S. city further limiting freedoms, not to mention how can we juxtapose presuming someone innocent and simultaneously stripping him naked and marching him past a national news network camera. I fear for our country." David Cole.
COLEWell, I don't think that martial law was declared. The troops weren't out in Boston. What was said was that in the interest of everybody's safety, people should stay indoors and not go outside, which was a completely reasonable request on the part of the mayor. I don't think if someone were stupid enough to go outside, they weren't going to get arrested, or the military wasn't going to pick them up.
COLESo I think that's an overstatement. With respect to his innocence, he is innocent until proven guilty. There's a lot of evidence already out there that suggests very strongly that he's guilty. But he will be, when tried, presumed innocent until proven guilty, which simply means that the government bears the burden of putting the evidence on the table against him.
REHMAnd how does the fact that he is a U.S. citizen bear on their approach?
COLEYou know, I don't think it should bear very much at all. All people within the United States, whether they're citizens, whether they're foreign nationals, whether they're here legally or illegally, have basic -- all the basic constitutional rights that are associated with the criminal process. So if it was Tamerlan, who is a foreign national as opposed to Jahar, he would have -- he would've had all the same rights in a criminal process.
COLEThe one thing with respect to a foreign national is that you have greater authority to use -- you can use the immigration process against him. You can deport him. But, you know, in a case like this, you're not interested in deporting. You're interested in bringing the person to justice within the criminal justice system. And that's -- the same rights apply regardless of the individual.
REHMOne further point: The older brother had been denied citizenship or at least had it postpone -- decision postponed on the basis of concerns that the FBI had, Tom Gjelten?
GJELTENYeah. What I understand is that after this exchange of communication with the Russian government that alerted the FBI to concerns about Tamerlan, his citizenship request was not denied, but sort of made subject to further review.
REHMPostpone. So was that after the trip, the most recent trip to Russia?
GJELTENI don't know that chronology of that. Maybe...
BARRETTJust -- yeah. My understanding of the sequence is a little different. I'm not saying one of us right, one of us is wrong. I think this is stuff that's all going to get a little flushed out as we go. But my understanding is he applies for citizenship in September of last year. And, yes, they were looking at these two issues, not just the Russian trip though.
BARRETTAlso, he has an assault arrest. In the immigration process, that's an important thing that can be a hitch for people seeking citizenship. So, anyway, he applies in September, and he hasn't been -- he hasn't gotten an answer yet. He just hasn't been told whether he's going to be a citizen or not, is what I was told.
BARRETTAnd frankly, in a major eastern seaboard city, having a wait of seven to eight months for a reply to that is not unusual. I mean, it's perfectly normal for that process to take a year or more. So I'm not saying the notion -- I'm definitely saying the notion is wrong that he was denied citizenship. I think they were looking at it. It's not clear to me that it actually had delayed anything at that point. It's -- they were still in the process.
BARRETTThey haven't made a decision.
REHMAnd his younger brother was granted citizenship on Sept. 11 last year.
TODTI think what's interesting about this is the profiles of the two individuals because Tamerlan falls right into a very typical profile for what we're seeing. And we look at the radicalization, the trips. There's still a lot of information to come out. But it's -- it is not atypical. What is perplexing in this is the younger brother because here is an individual, 19, who is well-integrated in his high school, in his college, had lots of friends.
REHMBut not doing very well in college.
TODTNo. And then does the bombing and then integrates immediately right back into his life. He's, you know, he's tweeting. He is at a party, apparently an intramural soccer party. He is going to the gym, while some say, maybe he seemed more quiet, but he has conversations about the bombing as if he were anybody. And there is a psychosis and psychology to him that, I think, is really important to uncover because it is -- it's -- quite frankly, it's flooring that he just walks right back into it.
BARRETTKiersten makes a really good point here, and I think this is an area where it may actually be most helpful to talk to criminal profilers as opposed to terrorist experts because what criminal profilers look at a lot is people who commit crimes in unison often have an interesting personal chemistry, whereby on their own, neither of them would do the thing that they do together.
BARRETTAnd I think if you look at the two of them, there's some initial tangential evidence that suggest that the older brother did not have his life together to the point where he could have coordinated and organized this sort of thing. And the younger brother did not have the anger, at least to the degree that we have seen publicly expressed by the older brother to pick a target like that or act out like that.
BARRETTLook, it's early. This could change. But I think what leaps out to me is that there is a criminal profile that needs to be done on these two, and we may end up, reach a point where we say that neither of these guys would have done it on their own, but, together, they were a very, very dangerous combination.
REHMDavid Cole, will they -- will the federal officials -- try to try him in federal court, or will he be tried in Massachusetts court?
COLEI suspect he'll be charged in both -- that is, he'll be charged, under Massachusetts law, with murder and a variety of other crimes under Massachusetts law. And he'll probably also be charged under federal terrorism law for using a bomb on a public -- in a public place, and he could be tried in both places. The difference, the principal difference between the two is that in -- Massachusetts does not recognize the death penalty. Federal law does, and so federal prosecution could lead to the death penalty, whereas a state prosecution could not.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Kiersten Todt, you were part of the White House during the Clinton administration. You were responsible for drafting key components of the legislation that created the Department of Homeland Security. What are the implications here for sporting events? How in the world do you see federal, local officials looking at these differently?
TODTWell, there are two types of sporting events that we deal with. There are open events like a marathon or the Olympics, and then there are closed events. And the security around closed events can be easier because you can control access and egress. You can check everybody who's coming through. Open events are much more challenging. And if you look at the London Olympics, two things that they did at the London Olympics were to integrate resiliency into their infrastructure.
TODTSo evacuation routes were overlapped with access to and from Olympic sites. Additionally, they had put up triage tents all throughout the city just as a precaution, as an infrastructure precaution. But to go back to 9/11 today and to look at sport events, the key, really, is resiliency. When we were drafting the Department of Homeland Security legislation, in that immediate moment, it was how do we prevent something like this from ever happening again?
TODTBut that dialogue shifted, and it evolved to say, you know what, we're never going to be ahead of everything. We can't prevent everything. But what we can do is ensure that when something does happen, we can contain it and respond and recover as quickly as possible. And when we look at these types of events, we can make the efforts, the appropriate efforts, to prevent something from happening.
TODTBut we have to put an infrastructure in place to ensure that if something does, when it does, we are there to make sure that it does the least amount of damage as possible. And as tragic as Boston was, it actually had a lot of elements to it that made it much more -- much less tragic than it could have been.
TODTYou had the best hospitals in the world yards away. You had an unbelievable police presence, 1,000, around. And you also had triage tents that were ready to handle thousands of runners available to help people. And those lessons, as well as looking at some of the more security issues such as cameras and things like that, are ones from which we can learn for future security events.
GJELTENWell, it's not just events. It's not just sporting events. It's not just concerts. I mean, you have -- the soft target, potential soft target list is much broader than that. I mean, remember, there was an attempt at a bomb in Times Square. That would have been a soft target with many more people involved. You've got shopping centers all over the country. I mean, you've got movie theaters. The number of soft targets that can't be protected, I think, is probably greater than the number that can be.
COLEYou might say life is an open event. You know, we can't possibly live in a risk-free environment, in a public -- you know, open public society.
REHMDavid Cole of Georgetown University. Short break here. When we come back, your calls, comments, questions. Stay with us.
REHMAnd welcome back. It's time to open the phones. Let's go Huntingtown now. Good morning, Joey. You're on the air.
JOEYOne of your guests mentioned that the older brother became more religious while visiting his mother, implying that simply being religious will or could lead to terrorism. We don't really know anything about his motives yet, so I'd like to caution against making assumptions. We already stigmatize the Muslim faith, so I'd like to ask your speakers to use more specific language with regards to radicalization and not generalize. Thank you.
REHMIt was actually I who said that, and I take your point. Any comments?
BARRETTWell, I think it's a good point. I think, you know, becoming religious isn't itself a suspicious activity. I think the real question is -- and this is where you see some of the witnesses who have spoken to Tamerlan in his life where they sort of draw dividing line. They say, yes, he was increasingly strident about religion. He would have what you could call arguments or emotional debates about religion within the local mosque he sometimes visited.
BARRETTBut he never said anything indicating that we should then go and do something about it or someone should pay a price for that or there should be pain inflicted in any way. And that's how they describe those conversations. I think we're all trying to figure out what was going on in his head in the year or more before this event.
REHMAll right. To Lee, N.H. Good morning, Bob.
BOBGood morning. I'm sure you know that the conspiracy people have been having a field day with this unfortunate event. You know, they're already labeling it as a false flag attack. The thing that disturbs me, though, is that the FBI has a history of singling out individuals who they think might be lead down the garden path and provide them with information and direct them in a way to conduct an attack, even though they give them, say, dud bombs and all that kind of stuff.
BOBBut I'm sure that people are going to seize on this and wonder if the FBI, having gotten the older brother on their radar, might have been tempted to see if they could manipulate him in some way. I'm not saying they did, but I'm saying the question is going to come up.
COLEWell, the use of informants to try to identify potential terrorist threats and stop them before they actual -- the bomb goes off is one of the methods that the government has used and in some cases quite successfully, in other cases it seems like they have -- may have entrapped individuals. But they can't possibly use informants against every individual who comes up on their radar screen in the kind of way that Tamerlan did. I mean, it's just -- it's a very expensive kind of tactic.
COLEIt's a tactic that has dramatic costs on the community because if you're in a community in which the government is sending informants, you can't trust anybody in that community. So it's a tactic that is valuable but should be used sparingly. And there's I don't think any indication that it was -- would've been appropriate to use here.
GJELTENYeah, Bob is referring to these various sting operations that have been employed in the past. And as David says, I think that their consensus is that these actually have been successful and may even explain why, you know, possible terrorist threats have been diffused in the past. One of the things about those sting operations is that they have come at a moment in the planning of an operation where the wannabes realize they need help, and they're reaching out for help.
GJELTENThey're looking for, like, more weapons, more technical assistance or something. And in the process of reaching out, they become vulnerable to a sting operation. What distinguishes this is this was such a homemade -- where appears to be such a homemade operation that they really didn't need to reach out apparently to anybody. And that would've made it much more difficult to intercept with some kind of sting operation.
TODTIt is definitely seems like it's not requiring a lot of assistance. But what's important is while we've used words such as these bombs were unsophisticated and things like that, the point is it's not easy to make a bomb. And you don't do it -- this isn't luck that you get it right on the first time. And so I think what's important to understand is really to understand where these -- how were they trained?
TODTWhere did they learn this? Did they practice it at some point? Because, as basic as we've identified these bombs, they're still challenging to make and to be successful, and they had to have had, by all accounts, some kind of support training education. And by whom and from whom, I think, are the critical questions to answer in this.
REHMDevlin, on another aspect, how is the discussion on immigration likely to be effected?
BARRETTIt's an interesting issue because these brothers were legal immigrants. They had been granted asylum and one was given citizenship. I think the obvious questions to ask based on what we know now is do people who travel back to, let's say, difficult regions of the world, do we need to put even more scrutiny on them though they are not illegal citizens?
BARRETTI mean, I think there is a separate conversation going on in Congress right now as to what to do with the 11 million people who aren't here legally. I think in some ways this doesn't really pair up very well with that other than to create a more general anxiety about immigrants overall.
GJELTENYou know, it was nobody -- it was none other than President Obama himself who sort of alluded to that issue on Friday night when he raised this question without answering it, how is it that someone who was educated in American schools and in our communities would turn to such violence? That's the sort of the troubling out there.
COLEBut you can ask that question about the various, you know, mass shootings as well. It's not something that's limited to immigrants or in any way particular to immigrants. These kinds of violent actions can be taken by anyone, so it shouldn't have an effect on the immigration debate.
REHMAll right. To Cambridge, Mass. Good morning, John.
JOHNGood morning. So we are part of the Cambridge community, and I think, you know, a lot of the discussion that revolves around -- is this criminal? Is this terrorist? -- I think, is significant in terms of -- we as a community see this as, you know, this individual, Jahar, and his brother, they are not others. They are us. They are Americans -- or Jahar is an American. He's part of our community.
JOHNIt -- which -- then we own just how difficult it is to try and wrap our minds around this to understand, you know, the horror and the criminality and the loss of life, you know, to family, to our -- in our community, just across the river in Boston. And I think it's really significant for us as a country to embrace the idea that these are not others.
JOHNYou know, these are human beings just as we are. And I think that by taking that tact, we will be more successfully, ultimately, in trying to understand and how to protect ourselves and how to, you know, keep embracing what the American ideal is, and that is the diversity of our community and welcoming people to our country.
COLEWell, I think that's absolutely right. And the real risk is that so often, we don't respond as John has suggested we should, and instead we look for us, them. We try to say they're different from us. And that's the only way you can explain it. I think back to the assassination of President McKinley, and it was done by someone with a foreign-sounding last name who was an American citizen.
COLEAnd how did we respond? We responded by enacting very restrictive immigration laws. That's the way we typically respond. I think the way John suggested is the much more appropriate and resilient way to respond as a society.
REHMAll right. To Syracuse, N.Y. Hi there, Mike.
MIKEHi. Good morning.
MIKEThanks for taking my call.
MIKEI have a question. There's a lot of innocent people that get put on the no-fly list. Yet here is somebody, the older brother that the FBI had been looking into, and yet he's still allowed to fly freely. Wonder if your guests have any comment on that. As well as his parents left to go to Chechnya and essentially -- and abandoned the younger brother, and the younger brother kind of seem like he came under the wing of the older brother and relied on him.
BARRETTYeah. There's two points there. One, yes, it does seem to be -- seem that this family was fracturing or had fractured by the time this happened, meaning that the parents had gone -- the father had gone back, the mother had gone back, and at the same time, the mother and father split up. And that's certainly not an excuse or rationale for anything, but it does seem interesting to me that what's going on in these guys' lives at the time is that they are basically back here and their parents are gone, and they do not seem to be having a very good time.
BARRETTThe first question, I think, was about the issue of no-fly list. And the no-fly list has always been and, frankly, will probably always be a very imperfect tool because they scoop up a lot of data and they try and parse through the data and, you know, they have this list of derogatory information they call it, and they try -- if they built up a certain amount of derogatory information, they decide OK, that person's on the list.
BARRETTAnd then we have to worry about well, is their name just like another name? And when you're done with a lot of foreign names, frankly, it gets confusing, and you're transliterating a lot of things, which is also a problem. And it's -- I don't see any easy fix for the no-fly list. I think a no-fly list makes sense in a lot of ways, but there are always going to be problems with it.
REHMTom Gjelten, could the Boston Marathon bombing have any effect on the choice of a new FBI leader when Robert Mueller retires in September?
GJELTENThat's a good question. You really need to put that to someone who really follows the ins and outs of Washington politics. One of the leading candidates for that position is Lisa Monaco who came from the FBI and is now in the White House having replaced John Brennan as the president's top counter-terrorism advisor.
GJELTENAnd, you know, there has been enough criticism of the FBI for failing to -- in the viewpoint of some of the Republican critics, for failing to take proper action after this Russian warning that you can bet that if she or anybody else comes up for that FBI director's position there's going to be some very tough questions asked about that.
BARRETTAnd a lot of those questions are going to be questions that come up frankly in the -- for the first time in the context of a new FBI director. People tend to forget that when Mueller was given that job, it was just before 9/11. We have not had an FBI confirmation process in the -- what some people called the age of terror. And I think what's going to be difficult about whoever they pick is that they're going to have answer a host of hypothetical situations and speak to a whole bunch of different constituencies who feel completely differently about how this process should work.
REHMTo St. Louis, Mo. Good morning, Natalie.
NATALIEGood morning, Diane and guests. Thank you so much for calling -- taking my call. I was wondering if I'm the only one who wonders why the parents have not come to the United States to visit their ailing son and to see their -- even the remains, if they could, of their deceased son.
REHMOf course, we can't get inside people's heads, but, Tom.
GJELTENWell, we do now that their father is apparently terminally ill and actually had gone back to Dagestan to die.
REHMWe are hearing reports that he plans to come here on Wednesday.
GJELTENRight, that's what I'd heard in the last couple days, that, now that this happened, he did plan to come back. And I think he said something like he wanted to tell his son to cooperate or something like that.
BARRETTYes. And that can be an important part of this process because if you remember, back, again, to the underwear bomber case, that man's father came back and helped convince him to talk to authorities for a number of days, which proved very important. Now he eventually shut down and stopped cooperating again at some point. But the father -- in past cases, the father has proven very important in terms of gathering more information.
REHMHmm. Interesting. You're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Let's go to Baltimore, Md. Hi, Ted.
TEDGood morning, Diane. I had a comment about the younger of the two brothers and how shocked we are as Americans in the country, that people come to this country, they're given the opportunity for our education, to work hard. They mix and mingle with students in schools, and they just seem, on all, you know, fronts, normal.
TEDAnd the -- what this all brings me back to is what happened in 9/11 when all the suspects after -- or all the people who committed that crime, all the Saudis, afterward, people were talking about how they just seem like normal people. They were out partying with them. They walked through the airport completely normal. And what this younger brother brings me into mind of is I think part of the training for some of these people is to get at our culture and to be normal, as normal as they can be with a goal to mind to take out as many of us as they can.
COLEYeah. And so when he came here as an 8-year-old, his goal was to act normally for 10 years and then -- no, I think this is somebody -- we don't know why he did what he did. We don't know why many criminals do what they do. Many criminals seem normal from the outside, but the notion that this some kind of act that a, you know, a pre-teen and then teenager put on for 10 years, I think there is no basis for that.
TODTWhich I think goes to Devlin's earlier point about a criminal profile. And what we have to be careful in a situation like this is that we don't take one element of the case and project out on it. So we don't make this an immigration debate. We don't make it an Islam debate, we don't make it -- all of these different -- these elements to the debate and focus on that by itself. We have to collect and aggregate the data to ensure that we're looking at this from a holistic perspective to make the right choices.
REHMKiersten, what changes do you see taking place in Homeland Security generally as a result of what happened?
TODTI think that point that we discussed earlier about the nomination of the FBI director. Clearly, we're going to need to understand what happened from the FBI's perspective. And I think, as we talked about earlier, looking at how we counter violent extremism, which is a Homeland Security component -- DHS has a very strong role on that -- and how we look at other countries and partners and those countries, which are not our partners, but we need to be working with, and how we work with them in the future.
TODTDomestically, we look at community resiliency response. I think we also want to be looking at how we are developing urban-resilient infrastructures. I mean, the point was made that we have a lot of soft targets. And again, it's not about living in a state of paranoia. It's a state of awareness and what can we do to encourage that awareness across the country.
BARRETTI also think -- I also expect that what will be a major result of this is there will just be a lot more cameras on the street. And that has been a debate in terms of is that too intrusive? Is that too Big Brotheresque? I actually think, for better or worse, this attack is going to put a lot more cameras on the street and a lot more ability to just track things in real time and public space.
COLEI agree with that. I think it's going to be a very powerful motivator for cities and governments to adopt these technologies of surveillance. But we also, I think, have to recognize that they can be misused and abused, and they need to be constrained by clear rules and regulations.
REHMLast word, Tom.
GJELTENYeah. I just -- in many respects, I think this bomb -- this bombing will turn out to be a kind of game changer on a number of fronts, I'm afraid.
REHMTom Gjelten of NPR, David Cole of Georgetown University, Kiersten Todt of Liberty Group Ventures, Devlin Barrett of The Wall Street Journal, thank you all so much.
TODTThank you, Diane.
REHMAnd thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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