UPDATE: President Obama signed the bill. It’s the law. But you may be surprised to learn that indefinite detention has been the law for a few years now and Obama has always supported it (except when he was running for president of course)
UPDATE 2: I’m sorry, I misunderstood a news article I read. At the time of this update, Obama has not signed the NDAA. He has withdrawn his promise to veto the bill but it is not yet the law.
The Senate just passed S.1867, the text of which can be found [HERE].
It effectively declares that the military is allowed to operate on U.S. soil. In addition, it says that the military can detain suspected terrorists, without trial, indefinitely…and that this power applies to American citizens…on American soil.
Now, thankfully, the Obama administration is threatening to veto the bill if those detainment provisions aren’t thrown out. The full text of the administration’s opinion of the bill can be read [HERE].
Here are a few excerpts:
” The Administration objects to and has serious legal and policy concerns about
many of the detainee provisions in the bill. In their current form, some of these provisions
disrupt the Executive branch’s ability to enforce the law and impose unwise and unwarranted
restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to aggressively combat international terrorism;
other provisions inject legal uncertainty and ambiguity that may only complicate the military’s
operations and detention practices.”
“Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration
does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk. After a decade of settled
jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of 2
legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country. While the current
language minimizes many of those risks, future legislative action must ensure that the
codification in statute of express military detention authority does not carry unintended
consequences that could compromise our ability to protect the American people.
The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which
would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects. This
unnecessary, untested, and legally controversial restriction of the President’s authority to defend
the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement
professionals. Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the
United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise
serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American
principle that our military does not patrol our streets.
I’m glad to see the Obama administration is taking this stance. Let’s hope he actually follows through with that veto. Somehow I doubt he will. The political ramifications of vetoing any bill that give more power and money to the military are too great. The Republicans will be all over him. Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck (is he even still around?) will call him a terrorist lover.