Meet the Press   |  April 21, 2013

Bombing suspect status: What lies ahead

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick gives NBC’s David Gregory the latest on Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s health status and when he’ll be able to be questioned.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> let me ask you some particulars about the surviving suspect, dzhokhar tsarnaev, who is now in the hospital. appare apparently he has a wound to the throat. did he try to commit suicide?

>> i don't know the answer to that.

>> do you know when doctors are saying he might actually be able to communicate? is there a real question about whether he'll be able to speak?

>> i don't know those answers, david. i do know that he is in serious condition, but he's stable. and there are investigators prepared to interview him when he's able to be interviewed.

>> the question about him coming onto the radar of the fbi two years ago, he was interviewed, he was tracked at the request of the russians, according to federal officials. that's questions now, for you and authorities in massachusetts, have to raise some concerns whether something was missed here.

>> well, sure. there's a whole process here, and i think it was his brother, by the way, who was questioned by the fbi --

>> yes, forgive me, correct.

>> a whole host of questions, david, that you have, that i have, more to the point that the fbi the a it tf and other law enforcement agencies will pursue. it's important for us to give them the space to do this meth methodically because, frankly, it's been that approach, giving them that space so that they can build the case from facts up rather than start from broad theories and try to fill in the blanks that has gotten us as far as we've come as quickly as we've come. so i want to continue to respect that approach.

>> i want to ask you one thing about how this developed as, in this case, dzhokhar, the younger brother , the surviving suspect, emerged as a real suspect. some of his reactions to the bombing you have indicated kind of cryptically was revealing to you. can you elaborate on that?

>> well, right after the monday event, he was back on the campus of the university of massachusetts in dartmouth down in the south coast region. there is evidence of some, frankly, normal student behavior in those ensuing days which, when you consider the enormity of what he was responsible for, certain certainly, you know, raises a lot of questions in my mind and, as i say, more 30 the point of law in the minds of law enforcement as well. those are the kinds of leads that still have to be pursued and run to ground.

>> is there anything on the videotape that maybe the public hasn't seen about his reaction that was particularly telling that moved the investigation along?

>> well, the videotape is not something i've seen. it's been described to me in my briefing, but it does seem to be pretty clear that this suspect took the backpack off, put it down, did not react when the first explosion went off, and then moved away from the backpack in time for the second explosion. so pretty clear about his involvement and pretty chilling, frankly, as it was described to me.

>> governor, as a former constituent department official, do you have a view of whether he should be part of the criminal justice system , as someone who is tried in court, or should he be treated as a terrorist, as an enemy combatant? that debate is only beginning now here in washington.

>> well, that's the attorney general's call, and i have to respect it. he is an american citizen . he is responsible for a crime here in america. i trust the attorney general to make that call, to make it wisely. i will say that from my experience in the constituent department nearly 20 years ago now, one of of the things that was most striking and most gratifying about the experience these last few days is how well coordinated the law enforcement agencies were. the leadership of the fbi and the atf through the joint terrorism task force , the collaboration of the state police , the transit police at the state level, and boston pd and other local law enforcement was really seamless, and that collaboration and cooperation, i think, had a lot to do with how effective this investigation has been