TODAY   |  April 20, 2013

Bomber suspect will face charges as an American

The FBI could read Miranda rights to Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from his hospital bed, where he is still recovering. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

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>> pete williams has been working this story tirelessly around the clock. pete, good morning to you.

>> matt, good morning. the justice department says it intends to put dzhokhar tsarnaev on trial in a regular civilian court using the rules that apply in any criminal trial and that's renewing a debate about how to try terrorists on american soil. as soon as he is physically ready, dzhokhar tsarnaev will be subjected to questioning by federal authorities but in the beginning he will not be given the usual miranda warning about the right to remain silent. instead, the government will invoke a rule that allows questioning a suspect without giving advice of rights.

>> there is a public safety exemption in cases of national security and potential charges involving acts of terrorism and so the government has that opportunity right now.

>> reporter: the government invoked the same rule in the case of the so-called underwear bomber. as in his case it allows questioning to learn of any potential plots or accomplices that could present a continuing threat.

>> the first questions the fbi will focus on are specific threats that he might be aware of likely are there any other improvised explosive devices, other people working in the network. the sorts of things that go directly to whether or not there's a continuing threat to public safety .

>> reporter: he'll face charges brought by the justice department because terrorism is a federal crime with a trial in a regular civilian court. and as in other high profile terrorism cases, some republicans in congress say that's the wrong legal path. senator lindsay graham of south carolina has said tsarnaev should be questioned by u.s. intelligence agencies and put on trial before a military commission perhaps even at guantanamo bay in cuba. the obama administration has insisted that criminal trials can be just as effective and tsarnaev is an american citizen which could complicate putting him in a military court . the next step is filing formal charges which could come within the next day or so with an initial appearance before a federal magistrate . if he's not well enough to move, that could still be done in the hospital. lest lester?