The very same week Gallup released a poll showing that fear and distrust of the federal government is at a near record high, the Congress is poised to move forward on the National Defense Authorization Act, which would allow for the indefinite detention of Americans:
Congress is pressing ahead with a massive $662 billion defense bill that requires military custody for terrorism suspects linked to al-Qaida, including those captured within the U.S., with lawmakers hoping their last-minute revisions will mollify President Barack Obama and eliminate a veto threat.
Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees announced late Monday that they had reached agreement on the policy-setting legislation that had gotten caught up in an escalating fight on whether to treat suspected terrorists as prisoners of war or criminals in the civilian justice system.
Responding to personal appeals from Obama and his national security team, the lawmakers added language on national security waivers and other changes that they hoped would ensure administration support for the overall bill.
“I assured the president that we were working on additional assurances, that the concerns were not accurate,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., who spoke to Obama last week, told reporters at a news conference. “That we’d do everything we could to make sure they were allayed, and met.”
White House officials said Tuesday they were reviewing the bill. It was unclear whether they would hold firm on the veto threat.
While apologists for the language claim that this is needed to fight terrorism, the same rationale was given for passage of the PATRIOT Act. However, the legislation was only used for “terrorism” three times in FY 2009. And don’t believe what so-called “conservatives” tell you, it has not been used 42 times to “thwart” acts of terrorism.
And despite veto threats from the White House because of the “indefinite detention” language, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who has defended the NDAA, claims that the administration asked for protections for American citizens and lawful residents to be removed from the bill:
With a vote likely coming as soon as this this week, you need to call your representatives in Congress and politely tell them vote against the National Defense Authorization Act.