Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.) offered different views on how Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be tried. “I believe very strongly” that he should be treated as a criminal rather than a enemy combatant, she told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace. “I do not believe under the military commission law that he is eligible for that, it would be unconstitutional to do that.”
Feinstein also believed that trying Tsarnaev as a criminal would be more effective, citing that there been only 435 terrorist convictions under federal law compared to only ”half a dozen” arrests under the military commission.
However, given the “unique opportunity for a treasure trove of intelligence,” King offered a slightly different approach to how authorities should handle Tsarnaev moving forward: he should be treated as an enemy combatant for interrogation purposes, but tried in a civilian court. “There are so many questions unanswered, so many potential links to terrorism here,” King said. “Also, the battlefield is now in the United States, so I believe he is an enemy combatant.”
In a civilian court, Tsarnaev’s statements would not be used against him in the trial. “He’s going to be convicted one way or the other in a civilian court,” King added. “Right now it’s to get intelligence.”