Hagel: Not enough information yet to tie bombing suspects to militant group

Investigators explore possible link between Boston suspects and known terror group


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Sunday he hasn’t seen enough intelligence yet to say the Boston Marathon bombers were inspired by or connected to a militant group.

“I have not seen any intelligence that would make such a link,” Hagel said in Tel Aviv, Israel, during a trip to the Middle East. “But as you know, all of the facts are not in. All of the dynamics of intelligence is not complete. And until we know that, until we get more pieces, we won't be able to answer some of those questions.”

Hagel also said the Obama administration doesn’t have enough information yet to decide whether the surviving suspect should be sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.

“We don't know all the facts -- what these two brothers were up to, why, what motivated them, were they associated with foreign governments or non-state actors or global terrorist organizations,” he said. “Until we get the facts, then it will be the responsibility of law enforcement, (Justice Department) and other institutions to make some determination as to how that individual should be treated, detained, charged and all that goes with it.”

Two bombs placed Monday near the marathon finish line killed three people and injured 176 others.

The first suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed early Friday morning in a police shootout. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured by police that night and remains in serious condition in a Boston hospital.

President Obama in the immediate aftermath of the bombings called them an “act of terrorism.”

Tsarnaev will be interviewed by the administration’s High Value Interrogation Group, without being informed of his Miranda rights, as part of the public safety exception that allows suspects to be questioned without being read those rights.  

However, the administration has not said whether Tsarnaev will be handled as a potential enemy combatant, which would extend such authority beyond 48 hours. It would include denying him a government-appointed attorney and other legal rights under the “Law of War” so investigators can learn about other possible attacks.