Beginning some days ago the gravely wounded and intubated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been interrogated in a hospital ICU about the Boston marathon bombings, during what are called “sedation holidays.” These are periods where the flow of drugs that sedate such a patient is stopped, normally for long enough that doctors “can ask patients questions to assess neurological and cognitive functioning.”
However, we have not heard from doctors in this case. (Even the public announcements of Tsarnaev’s medical condition have been made by government officials. In the transcript of the in situ court hearing held on Monday one doctor is given a last name and is allowed to ask Tsarnaev “How are you feeling?” and “Are you able to answer some questions?” and is not heard from again.) The people we have heard from have been the likes of FBI agents or “officials familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
And as is well known, such people have told us that Tsarnaev communicated to them by means of writing that he and his deceased brother Tamerlan indeed carried out the bombings, that they did so on their own without connection to anyone else, and that their motivation was to defend Islam given US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moreover, as is widely reported, the US has itself concluded at least tentatively that the brothers acted alone (see here, here, and here). And it would seem entirely reasonable that it believe this. The interrogations have been conducted by a “highly trained team,” and their subject was a presumably frightened individual in physical distress (try coping with a tube down your nose with the pain-killer drip turned off). Does anyone really believe that they could not tell if he were lying?
But now it seems that the government wants to interview everyone who had the slightest connection with the brothers. We hear that it has sent people to Russia’s North Caucasus region to talk to their distraught parents; it wants to interview Tamerlan’s distraught widow, who lived apart from him and does not speak Russian (the language in which he presumably would have discussed anything nefarious); it has interviewed all manner of acquaintances of the brothers; and it is attempting to find a mysterious “Misha” who has been cited as Tamerlan’s mentor in the serious approach to Islam (and who occasioned an FDL News Desk article today containing some surprisingly uncharacteristic speculation).
Why? Does the government believe that, despite its public posture and the public’s willingness to believe it, it’s case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not ironclad after all, so that it needs to go to all this extra trouble to fill in the holes?
Or is there something wrong with the government’s claim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has admitted guilt?