White House: Boston Bombing Suspect Won’t Be Charged as ‘Enemy Combatant’

TheBlaze’s Jon Seidl and Becket Adams contributed to this report.

The White House has announced how it plans to deal with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the 19-year-old alleged terrorist “will not be treated as an enemy combatant.” The government’s official complaint was also released today (embedded below).

“We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilians system of justice,” Carney told reporters. “Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions.”

This undated photo provided by the vkontakte website shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been on the run, described as “armed and dangerous” and suspected of the Boston Marathon bombing. Credit: AP

The information was announced this afternoon, just one week after the horrific terror attack unfolded. The reasoning for the designation is that American citizens cannot be tried through military commissions. This revelation is particular intriguing, because Tsarnaev recently become an American citizen on September 11, 2012 — the eleventh anniversary of the nation’s deadliest terror attacks.

“There is not an alternative for a U.S. citizen to be tried by a military commission,” he added.

The Washington Post has more about the charges filed against Dzhokhar:

Federal authorities Monday charged the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings with using a “weapon of mass destruction” against people and property, and the White House rejected demands by some congressional Republicans that he be tried before a military tribunal as an “enemy combatant.”

The Justice Department said Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. It said he is “specifically charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (namely, an improvised explosive device or IED) against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.” The department said in a news released that the bombings resulted in the death of three people and injuries to more than 200 others.

During today’s press conference Carney went on to say that the “entire national security team” supports the decision and that the matter was decided by the U.S. Department of Justice, which Attorney General Eric Holder oversees.

Watch Carney explain these elements, below:

After reporters questioned the decision not to read Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, Carney cited a “public safety exemption,” although he did not tie it directly to this case. It seems Carney was merely making the point that there are times in which it is appropriate, as per the exemption, to withhold Miranda rights.

Tsarnaev was charged from his hospital bed today. The announcement comes as U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the prosecutor handling the case, is gaining media attention as well. Reuters notes that she is known for being “tough to a fault” by critics and for “coming down too hard on some defendants.”

This, of course, may be a benefit in this case, though, for those who believe that the suspect should be held to the highest levels of scrutiny. Read more about Ortiz here.

“Although our investigation is ongoing, today’s charges bring a successful end to a tragic week for the city of Boston, and for our country,” Holder said in a statement issued this afternoon.

We’ll leave you with the criminal complaint, below:

Dzhokhar could face the death penalty for his alleged actions.

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.

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