Civil Libertarians Upset With Signing Of National Defense Authorization Act

Specifically troublesome are provisions keeping prisoners at Gitmo and indefinite detentions.

Civil liberties advocates had roundly criticized the bill over Guantanamo and a separate section that could allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens on suspicions of supporting terrorism. Just as he did with last year’s version of the bill, however, Obama decided that the need to pass the NDAA, which also sets the armed forces’ $633 billion budget for the 2013 fiscal year, was simply “too great to ignore,” according to a presidential signing statement released in the early morning hours Thursday…

After the president issued his veto threat in November, a House-Senate conference committee made one minor change: it shortened the length of the bill’s prohibition on transferring Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. to one fiscal year, instead of the open-ended ban in the original Senate version.

Obama’s signing statement did reiterate his opposition to restrictions on when he can move prisoners out of the Guantanamo camp. Such statements signal how a president plans to put a law into effect but do not have the force of law themselves, leaving future administrations to make their own interpretations.

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