Lawmakers criticize handling of Boston bombing

On the Sunday news programs, several lawmakers critiqued the way authorities handled the Boston Marathon bombing, from the failure to identify the Tsarnaev brothers as threats to the decision to read the surviving suspect a Miranda warning after 16 hours of questioning.

“I was very surprised that they moved as quickly as they did” on reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda warning, Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) told CNN. “We have legal reasons and follow-up investigative reasons to drag this out a little bit longer. We could have done that."

On "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) also argued that authorities "pulled the trigger too soon" in delivering the Miranda warning to the surviving alleged bomber.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told "Meet the Press" that the FBI "did an outstanding job in solving this" after the attack but that "I don't think they did a full investigation" when first asked to look into Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother who died in a firefight with police. "They never went to his mosque, never spoke to his imam, never spoke to a number of his relatives," King said, and they never flagged Tsarnaev to the Boston police.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) wanted more information on why the elder Tsarnaev was not flagged after traveling to Russia, when his name was misspelled on an airline ticket.

"Now, was that a clerical error? Where are we in that process? How was that information being shared and reviewed? Who's doing the double check? People want to know that," Blackburn said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers last week that federal agencies eventually learned that Tsarnaev had left the country, despite the typo.

"We're going to have to up our game," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CBS's "Face the Nation." "How could you miss the fact that the guy you were -- you were informed by a foreign intelligence service you have a radical in your midst?"

On ABC's "This Week," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) wondered whether, given the information authorities had on the elder Tsarnaev, "Were the dots not all followed?"

On the same program, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee, cautioned that "it's too early to start pointing fingers and blame" because the investigation is ongoing. He noted that the FBI found no derogatory information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a 2011 probe. "And at some point, the FBI just doesn't get to investigate Americans or people here who are here legally just because they want to."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told CNN that anyone traveling back to their home country after being granted asylum "should probably raise some red flags." But he sounded a note of caution on the use of domestic surveillance to weed out potential threats.

"I worry about giving up my liberty in the face of security," Chaffetz told CNN. "I don't want the federal government coming in and surfing my Facebook page.... We've got to be very, very careful."

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) criticized authorities for telling news organizations that no connection had yet been made to a foreign terrorist organization or individual.

"What I found astounding is that right out of the box, U.S. officials anonymously are saying there's no foreign connection to this case," McCaul said on "Fox News Sunday." "The FBI just began their investigation in this case."

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner | April 28, 2013