Roundtable I: Inside the Investigation

Dan Abrams, Richard Clarke and Brad Garrett on security after the Boston bombings.
8:49 | 04/21/13

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Transcript for Roundtable I: Inside the Investigation
Okay, pierre, thanks very much. Let's get more on this from our team of analysis from our team, dan abrams, brad garrett and richard clarke. Dan, let me begin with you. The question about the questioning of the witness, at least at first he will not be read his miranda rights. That's right. You heard pierre talk about this public safety exception. Basically the supreme court has recognized that, in some cases, if there's the possibility of an imminent threat that you can ask limited questions without further reading someone their miranda rights and that's what they're saying here, now, down the road, will someone challenge it and say this shouldn't have happened? Sure. Courts may have to resolve the specifics in this case later. But there is no question that the u.S. Supreme court has recognized this limited exception to reading someone their miranda rights. Even if a suspect has been in custody for a couple of days? Then you start getting to the questions. Right? The supreme court case involving stopping a guy who had an empty holster. Where is the gun? It's back there. Can that little statement be admitted? The court said, yes. When you're talking two days, the questions become more difficult whether it's legally permissible. The fbi and this administration have clearly taken the position that you're allowed to ask these type of questions, even after the fact. We're seeing calls from senators, instead of being tried in court, he should be treated as an enemy combatant. That's not going to happen for two reasons. First of all, he's a u.S. Citizen, captured on u.S. Soil. And the reality is, he couldn't be tried in a military tribunal. The question is, could he be questioned as a enemy combatant? Possibly, he could be. But there seems no real reason to do so. Since you have that miranda exception, they can ask these type of questions. That could be foolish. You could hurt the case there by declaring him an enemy combatant. Brad garrett, what will be the nature of the questioning? What else are they doing around the suspect now? Two main things, george, are there other bombs, bomb components, ordnances, that are set to go off or somebody else has access to it? The second prong that's most important, are they connected to anyone else, is this a small group or a large group? If so, are they about to attack? There had been a report that two young men were questioned in new bedford, massachusetts. Any concern about that at this point? Not that I'm aware of, but there would be a lot of false leads. In this case. Maybe loose associations to both of them, that have nothing to do with terrorism. Lots of questions that tamerlan, the older brother, had been questioned before by the fbi, in 2011, at the req of the russian government. Well, that's right. But, think about this, george, there are hundreds of thousands of young adults in this country that visit extremist islamic websites, he was one of them, so the question is, what line do you draw that we continue the investigation? Or do we go and interview, make a decision on other intelligence that were not going to pursue an active case against him? You're already seeing some congressmen, peter king, criticizing, saying this was a missed opportunity. That's great to say. But when you have literally hundreds of thousands of people you want to keep track of, you want to prioritize. They're going to miss one every once in a while. When you approach them, when you interview them or do their background, they may not have radicalized to the level of what we saw on monday. Going to websites wouldn't be enough? Absolutely not. The older brother went back to russia in 2012, was there for several months. We know that they're chechen origin. Well, actually, george, chechens have been involved in al qaeda since the beginning of al qaeda. They were involved in fighting for al qaeda in bosnia and they were involved in fighting against the northern alliance in afghanistan. There's a record here. How do you tell when someone gets radicalized? They're normal, happy kids in cambridge, and then something happens, a switch is flipped. How can the fbi, how can homeland security notice when that happens? When the radicalization occurs, especially when it's self-radicalization online. It's very, very difficult to do. What I want to know, what did the russians do when he went back to russia? They had already said that they were interested in him, he went back and spent six months. What did they do? Did they follow him around? We're dealing with something of a new pattern since 9/11. Attempts at terrorist attacks by people who have been in the united states for quite a long period of time who have become radicalized. Not the times square bomber, had some connections overseas. But not parts of larger broader conspiracies. This will probably turn out that way, self-radicalization. The issue here is, now that people have seen what two people did with easily obtained materials, closed down a city, other people around the country who have been radicalized have watched this and they're going to wonder, is there a way now that I can do this? To name him an enemy combatant, there would have been a specific connection to al qaeda or taliban. You can't say this person was generally a threat to america, and as a result we're going to question him as an enemy combatant. Under the rule of war, for example, you have to specifically be able to link him to al qaeda. And to get to the point of the threat may be increasing at this point, actually over the last decade, we actually have seen a decline threat of terrorism since 2001. Over the last decade, we have been remarkably lucky. I don't think anyone really understand this hasn't happened many, many times. It's so easy for these people to do it. The fbi has done a good job of pretending to be al qaeda. And when they see someone has been radicalized, approaching them, pretending to be al qaeda, getting them to do something and arresting them, and that works. But that's not the only explanation, I think a lot of people believe they can't do this. That's too hard. Let me press that for a moment. You wrote a remarkable cover story in the atlantic magazine back in 2005, where you led out what kind of threats we could be facing. Attacks on casinos, malls and subways and other public areas. You're scratching your head that it hasn't happened more often. Beside the fbi has infiltrated these groups, th potential attackers think it's too hard, which is not. And now, with this attack in boston it's been revealed that it's not too hard. What do we do, brad? I think the reason we haven't had this level of attacks that he's suggesting is, because now you have law eorking so closely together. Because the key in a lot of these cases may be the local or city/county police, because their informants that live in the communities may have noticed something. If they stepped forward you would have the information. I think that's what stopped a lot of attacks over the years. But the big problem is, george, the flip over to when they are actually radicalized, instead of talking about being radicalized, and doing something bad, and if you're not there, either with physical surveillance, electronic surveillance or a source, you're not going to get them. One final question, it does appear that the young men stayed in the area, we know that jahar went to a party on his campus at the university of basically hiding in plain sight. That's because I believe they weren't done, they had other bombs. They didn't get caught. For two days they didn't get identified. Maybe they believed that ultimately at some point they were going to die. They were going to get into a shootout with police. They're going to set off as many bombs as they can. You're shaking your head? I think that's exactly right. They did have another bomb. They threw it at the watertown police friday night. Theyed a other bombs. They had other explosives. They didn't think they would get caught. Okay, gentlemen, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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