President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act on Saturday, but not without expressing his objections to the funding bill’s provisions on the treatment of suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens.
Obama expressed “serious reservations” about the bill but argued in a signing statement released Saturday that it does not fundamentally change executive power.
The administration does not intend to interpret one provision as granting the military authority to detain Americans indefinitely, Obama said in the statement. It also opposes sections of the bill that block the transfer of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to U.S. soil for any purpose and that restrict the government’s ability to transfer detainees to other countries.
But… It was his administration that insisted that the language be included in the bill.
From the video: Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told Congress recently that under the original wording of the National Defense Authorization Act, American citizens were excluded from the provision that allowed for detention. Once Obama’s officials saw the text though, says Levin, “the administration asked us to remove the language which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.”
Advertisement - story continues below
Specifically, the section that Obama asked to be reworded was Section 1031 of the NDAA FY2012, which says that “any person who has committed a belligerent act” could be held indefinitely.
Hat Tip Maria