Challenges to the National Defense Authorization Act came this week from a group of senators and from a coalition of advocacy groups.
From Michael McAuliff at HuffPo:
A bipartisan group of senators made a bid Wednesday to end the indefinite military detention of Americans in the United States.
Declaring that a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 put the country on a path to repeat the shame of World War II’s internment camps, they argued the offending language should be stricken in this year’s defense bill.
The authority to detain anyone on suspicions that they backed Al Qaeda was codified in law for the first time in the NDAA last winter, although the two most recent White House administrations have asserted since 2001 that the military has always had that authority, stemming from Congress’ Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) passed after the 9/11 attacks.
President Barack Obama opposed the measure, but ultimately signed it after an amendment to the act muddied the issue enough to make it debatable in courts. Obama pledged to never use the authority.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said joined together to declare, in Feinstein’s words, that
‘… the time has come now to end this legal ambiguity, and state clearly, once and for all, that the AUMF or other authorities do not authorize such indefinite detention of Americans apprehended in the U.S.’
And related to NDAA and GitMo, at Politico, Tal Kopan writes:
A coalition of advocacy groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama Tuesday urging him to veto the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act if it in any way restricts the executive branch’s ability to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The groups, which include the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, remind Obama of his ‘unfulfilled’ 2008 campaign promise to close the prison and say that if an NDAA restricts transfers out of Guantanamo for another fiscal year, ‘nearly a year of your second term could be lost, and the political capital required to start closing it later in your next term will be even greater.’
(Indefinite Detention graphic via OWS)