NDAA Battle Ends in Defeat for ‘Indefinite Detention’ Opponents

In less than a month, critics of the National Defense Authorization Act’s (NDAA) treatment of American citizens accused of terrorism went from a lopsided victory to an equally lopsided defeat, as Congress easily passed the bill without critics’ preferred language on indefinite detention.

Some lawmakers believed that the NDAA allowed the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial if they faced terror accusations, though supporters of the bill contested that reading. In November, the Senate voted 67 to 29 to adopt a bipartisan amendment that made clear that Americans could not be held indefinitely.

The amendment declared, “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

Even that amendment didn’t go far enough for some, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash. They argued that the phrase “unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention” suggests there is no constitutional barrier to indefinite detention.

The amendment, introduced by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, was nevertheless viewed as a solid compromise. It even won the vote of South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had opposed similar amendments in 2011.

Read more from this story HERE.