Obama holds Situation Room meeting on Boston blasts

Dzhokar, 19, the second suspect was arrested from a boat, parked in the backyard of a house, where he was hiding.

Updated: Apr 21, 2013, 13:58 PM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama has held a Situation Room meeting with his top national security team on the Boston Marathon bomb blasts and underlined the need to find answers to remaining questions about the terror attack, a day after the second suspect was captured.

The meeting, held yesterday, lasted for about 90 minutes and was held to review the events in Boston, the White House said.

Obama was updated by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, National Security Advisor, Attorney General, FBI Director and Secretary of Homeland Security on the apprehension of an ethnic Chechen Dzhokar Tsarnaev and the related investigation.

Dzhokar, 19, the second suspect was arrested from a boat, parked in the backyard of a house, where he was hiding.

Obama was also briefed by the leadership of the intelligence community, including Director of National Intelligence and the CIA Director, about their ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and protect the Americans.

"The President commended the work that was done to pursue justice in the Boston Marathon bombing, and underscored the need to continue gathering intelligence to answer the remaining questions about this terrorist attack going forward," the White House said.

US Vice-President Joe Biden joined the meeting via video-conference.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator Carl Levin, came out in support of the Obama Administration`s decision of not treating the arrested suspect as `enemy combatant`, as being demanded by several Republican lawmakers.

"I am not aware of any legal basis at this point for such a designation in this case. Under the law of war, we have the authority to detain individuals who join a hostile foreign force engaged in attacking the United States," Levin said.

In a statement, Levin said he is not aware of any evidence so far that the Boston suspect is part of any organised group, let alone al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or one of their affiliates -- the only organisations whose members are subject to detention under the Authorisation for Use of Military Force.

"In the absence of such evidence I know of no legal basis for his detention as an enemy combatant. To hold the suspect as an enemy combatant under these circumstances would be contrary to our laws and may even jeopardise our efforts to prosecute him for his crimes," Levin said.

"The public safety exception is a domestic criminal law doctrine that allows questioning of a criminal suspect without Miranda warnings for a limited time and purpose.

"We hope the Obama Administration will consider the enemy combatant option because it is allowed by national security statutes and US Supreme Court decisions," Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Congressman Peter King said in a joint statement.

Senator Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also supported such a move.

"I urge this administration to do the right thing and deem this suspect as an enemy combatant so that we get as much intelligence as legally possible before the suspect is mirandised," he said in a separate statement.

A Supreme Court 1966 ruling requires that police read suspects their Miranda rights to protect them against involuntarily incriminating themselves.

It is a tragedy in today`s world that terrorism peeps its ugly head in the lives of innocent individuals, Sampat Shivangi, national president of Indian American Forum for Political Education said in a statement.

"This incident is homegrown but nurtured by external influences and extremist mindset which is being exploited. We see the end of this chapter in arrest of the younger brother," Shivangi said.