Final Defense Bill Does Not Include Ability To Detain American Citizens
I know this is something that many were concerned with, no matter what side of the political aisle they stand on. But, American citizens should not be concerned, as the final bill does not give the government the right to detain Americans indefinitely, send them to Guantanamo Bay, or give them military trials
(LA Times) The final compromise mandates that terrorism suspects thought to have ties to Al Qaeda and planning attacks against the United States be taken into military custody, even those captured in the U.S. In response to some complaints, though, the bill carves out an exemption for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
The bill also allows the military to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects accused of having ties to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or forces engaged in hostilities against the U.S. That provision specifies that such power cannot be applied to U.S. citizens captured in the U.S.
As I wrote, I never posted anything about this because I was behind the curve on the story. Also, because I spoke with an aide to a politician who said that the language would never survive to make it to the president’s desk. There was too much opposition in the House and Senate.
(The Hill) One of the more controversial provisions of the bill is language that reaffirms the authority of the administration to detain people found to be associated with al Qaeda, and requires military detention for anyone who plots an attack against the United States. In both cases, the bill does not create any new authority to detain U.S. citizens, ensuring their rights to a fair trial, and the military detention language does exempts U.S. citizens.
The redone provisions apparently are more than just giving the POTUS the power to waive indefinite detention for American citizens and legal residents caught on US soil. It gives them the normal legal protections already accorded.
Just to be clear, the final version of HR 1540, National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Subtitle D, Section 1032(b)
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
Sections 1031 and 1032 are the ones cited, and the above language comes from the final legislation. They won’t be able to haul off US citizens even if captured outside of the US, nor to lawful residents captured within the US.
While there is still some concern by some Congress critters (who still voted for the bill), the language regarding US citizens is pretty cut and dry, with no exceptions.