Arrest of new Boston suspects sheds light on immigration

Sen. McCain speaks out on system


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 1, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: That third suspect is Robel Phillipos. He is the only U.S. citizen involved here. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

All, by the way, are in jail right now. Now, in Phillipos' case, he is not charged with being part of this conspiracy to hide or tamper evidence, as much as he is not telling authorities the truth that he and the others had, in fact, met with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his dorm room. So that appears to be the worst of the charges against him. They are no light charges, mind you. Hiding evidence or not telling authorities what's really going on is not good.

But, again, the charges against him are not quite as severe as those against Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev, who are in fact charged with dumping key evidence, the backpack, obviously the empty containers and all of that in a dump. That is what really this is all about.

So, you have three college friends of the younger Tsarnaev brother who were trying to cover up for their friend. That's essentially what this is all about here.

Senator John McCain joins me right now. The Republican sits on the Homeland Security Committee.

Senator, what do you make of what we have kind of gleaned thus far?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: It's terribly disappointing that any person, knowing the catastrophe and the mayhem and the act of terror that was committed by these two brothers, who would attempt to cover it up.

And all of us should be outraged. But what brings to my mind, Neil, is these people were from, I understand, Kazakstan. Maybe, as part of immigration, overall immigration reform, we should look at the process of who is allowed into this country, under what circumstances, what is their situation and background, particularly from countries that have histories such as Dagestan and Chechnya and others, where there has been significant influence of radical Islamic extremism.

I think that it might be appropriate as we move forward with immigration reform.

CAVUTO: Well, there certainly are a lot of terrorist elements within just Kazakstan itself. It's a very large country, the seventh or eighth largest land mass on Earth. So...


MCCAIN: And I would remind you...

CAVUTO: Go ahead.

MCCAIN: And could I just remind you...

CAVUTO: Please.

MCCAIN: ... 40 percent of the people who are in this country illegally have overstayed their visas.

I will be very interested in knowing the status of these two people from Kazakstan.

CAVUTO: Yes, you're quite right about that.

Azamat Tazhayakov had left the United States in December. What we're learning, Senator, as Shep was pointing out in his hour, is that it was Tazhayakov's visa status that was terminated in early January after he was dismissed from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, academic dismissal, so that would automatically make his visa status null and void. Yet he was able to return to this country after that happened on January 20.

That alone raises questions about how much we crack down on this sort of stuff.

MCCAIN: Yes. And why was he allowed to come back into the country if his visa was revoked?

This is -- this seems to be a common thread throughout this whole catastrophe and tragedy, as these individuals, where they came from, how they got here, how they stayed. And, again, a lot of my friends on my side of the aisle, you know, are concerned about illegal immigration in this country. And we have produced a bill.

But I think it would be very appropriate to have hearings as we move forward with the immigration bill to try to fix what at least in this case appears to be a broken system.

CAVUTO: All right. So then you have to put in that bill countries that you would have on a watch list, or let's say a worrisome or double-check list. Kazakstan would be on that kind of a list?

MCCAIN: I would -- you know, that's a judgment that we would have to make. As you said, Kazakstan is certainly not a functioning democracy with a -- and there is throughout that entire region significant efforts at radical Islamic extremists.

So, I can't say that positively, but I can sure say that about Chechnya and Dagestan and certain other countries in that very unsettled region. It just seems to me that if these people are able to come and go and as freely as certainly one of the brothers was and one of these individuals, we have a system that certainly needs some repair.

CAVUTO: You know what's interesting in this, Senator, what little we do know is that none of these three college friends of the Boston Marathon bomber were seen as acting in the attack itself, but then covering it up essentially. I think that is the gist of it.

But what's interesting to me is they obviously aligned their sympathies more toward their buddy than those in this country who were attacked, killed, maimed, et cetera. And I'm just wondering how many are in this country who share similar sympathies, more with compatriots of theirs than fellow Americans with whom they, at least while they're here, breathe the same air.

MCCAIN: It's just incomprehensible that they knew about it.

And, as you know, one law enforcement officer was murdered by these two brothers after these individuals knew full well that they were responsible for the bombing. So maybe you can't try them for it. Certainly on a moral basis, they are partially or to a large degree responsible for the death of a law enforcement agent.

CAVUTO: All right. We are waiting to hear from lawyers, Senator, so I don't want to interrupt you bluntly or quickly.

But I do want to raise another point that keeps coming up. And there is -- you talk about links with a lot of this stuff. One link that I see, Senator, is the delay in passing along information. Let's say if you cancel someone's visa or revoke it, obviously, that wasn't known to authorities when this guy was being processed back in the United States upon his return on January 20, even though we're told weeks earlier this had happened. In other words, it had been revoked.

So, there is obviously some delay there, as there was among FBI investigators communicating apparently their interview of the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, when he was questioned and scrubbed, as they say I guess in the industry, by authorities years ago. It was never communicated to local officials. We don't know if that's all true or not.

We just know that not everybody was in the loop. And that was the pre-9/11 situation. I thought we had learned not to do that.

MCCAIN: Well, obviously, post-9/11 fixes we made were either not implemented, or they were not secure -- sufficient. These are classic examples throughout this of stove piping.

Can I switch gears with you for one second?


MCCAIN: And that is this whole issue of Benghazi and the individuals who were evacuated that -- you know that Secretary Kerry and the administration and Mr. Carney says, we're giving Congress all the information that we need.

Well, you may know that Senator Graham and Senator Ayotte and I today sent a letter. Who were the individuals who were evacuated after the attack on Benghazi? And there are now serious, credible information out there that some of these individuals who were involved are ready to step forward and talk about a lot of things that the American people haven't...


CAVUTO: The president said he wasn't aware of that, or that their testimony or getting out to the public has been thwarted. What do you make of that?

MCCAIN: Well, Mr. Carney said the same thing.

Somebody is either not communicating correctly the facts or, you know, or -- I don't think I should accuse anyone of deceiving the American public, but it's been known, because these people's names have been -- we have been asking for, for months. And they talk about all the documents they sent over and all that.

Why not just send over the names so that these individuals, we could have the Congress of the United States interview? And it's still -- now all these months later and we don't have this information. It is a -- been a compelling argument for a select committee to investigate this whole tragedy that took place which we still don't have answers for.

CAVUTO: Senator John McCain, thank you very much, all of which have this one common theme, communication, communication, communication. A lot wasn't communicated in Benghazi, a lot clearly pre-Boston.

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