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National Defense Authorization Act NDAA
Topic: National Defense Authorization Act NDAA (Read 1611 times)
National Defense Authorization Act NDAA
December 17, 2011, 10:40:04 PM »
The clouds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt concerning this law are thick and the subject matter profound. It is looking to me like this Act deserves its own thread.
If someone has the energy to bring over the better of the existing posts on this subject it would be appreciated.
Regardless, this thread is now open for business,
Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 08:49:14 AM by Crafty_Dog
Re: National Defense Authorization Act
Reply #1 on:
December 17, 2011, 10:59:45 PM »
The Conference Version of the NDAA: Mandatory Military Detention Is Not Very Mandatory
by Robert Chesney
Section 1022 of the Conference version of the NDAA carries forward section 1032 of the Senate version, which has been
widely described as a mandatory military detention provision for a subset of detainable persons who are non-citizens linked to specific terrorist attacks. Both critics and supporters of the bill have focused heavily on this notion, lauding or decyring it. All of that is greatly overstated, however. The final bill applies to persons who are part of al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-associated force who is not a citizen and who was part of a particular attack or planned attack. Think Abdulmutalab.
At first blush, it seems as if it channels such persons ineluctably into military custody, even when captured in the US. But on closer inspection that’s not at all the necessary result, for three reasons.
First, the threshold decision that a particular person satisfies those conditions need not be (and certainly should not be) made instantaneously. The bill calls for the White House to develop procedures for making such determinations, without specifying time limits or otherwise micro-managing what that process might look like or how long it might take to unfold. Second, even after a decision is made that section 1022 does apply in a particular case, the requirement of military detention lasts only until a decision is made as to which “law of war” disposition for the individual is appropriate, and the bill includes civilian criminal prosecution as one of the disposition options
. Simply put, the government could simultaneously determine that a person qualifies under section 1022 and that civilian trial is the proper option for that individual. Third, there is on top of all this a waiver procedure whereby the President can certify in writing to Congress that national security concerns require setting 1022 aside altogether (though as I argue above, there is really no need ever to resort to this potentially politically-costly measure).
So what is really accomplished by 1022? Well, it does require articulation of the screening/slotting processes, and sharing of them with Congress such that there might be a basis for auditing/investigation how well the procedures worked (or were complied with) in particular cases. And there is the sheer symbolic impact of passing language widely perceived as requiring military detention in such cases; taking the civilian prosecution right may become politically more costly going forward, even though it is perfectly permissible under the terms of the actual statute. That’s a mixed bag, really. More careful thinking and articulation of procedures can certainly be viewed positively, whereas there’s not much good to be said for creating additional reasons to allow political consequences to influence disposition decisions.
NDAA FAQ: A Guide for the Perplexed
Reply #2 on:
December 20, 2011, 08:18:37 AM »
NDAA FAQ: A Guide for the Perplexed
by Benjamin Wittes
(Benjamin Wittes & Robert Chesney)
The volume of sheer, unadulterated nonsense zipping around the internet about the NDAA boggles the mind. There was a time–only a few months ago–when the NDAA detention provisions were the obscure province of a small group of national security law nerds. Now, however, this bill has rocketed to international notoriety. The added attention to it is a good thing. It’s an important subject and warrants genuine debate and discussion. The trouble is that much of the discussion is the intellectual equivalent of the “death panel” objections to the health care bill. While certain journalists have done a good job covering the controversy, it’s much easier to get bad information than good. The reader who wants answers to simple questions faces a confusing array of conflicting information.
Here then, as a public service, is an NDAA FAQ–a simple attempt to lay out the key questions people are asking about the NDAA and answer them as simply and neutrally as we can. Many of the answers here we have discussed in greater depth elsewhere on the blog. We will link to those posts for readers who want greater depth. This is an overview, a Guide for the Perplexed.
What exactly does the NDAA do?
The NDAA is a spending authorization bill for the military for fiscal year 2012. At more than 1,000 pages, it does a great many things. Almost all of the controversy about it, however, deals with a single portion of the bill: “Subtitle D–Counterterrorism.” This subtitle contains a number of provisions related to military detention of terrorism suspects and the interaction between military detention and the operation of the criminal justice system. Broadly speaking, the controversy relates entirely to the following provisions:
■Section 1021 codifies the Obama administration’s claimed authority to detain Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters and those from allied forces by “affirm[ing] that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force . . . includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons . . . pending disposition under the law of war.” The bill defines “covered person” as either “A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks” or “A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” It defines “disposition under the law of war” to include (1) “Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities,” (2) trial by military commission, (3) trial by “an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction,” and (4) “Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.” Note that this third option–trial by an “alternative court”–encompasses a civilian criminal prosecution, thus making trial in federal court, legally speaking, into a “disposition under the law of war.”
■Section 1022 purports not merely to authorize but to require military custody for a subset of those who are subject to detention under Section 1021. In particular, it requires that the military hold “a covered person” pending disposition under the law of war if that person is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda” and is participating in an attack against the United States or its coalition partners. The president is allowed to waive this requirement for national security reasons. The provision exempts U.S. citizens entirely, and it applies to lawful permanent resident aliens for conduct within the United States to whatever extent the Constitution permits. It requires the administration to promulgate procedures to make sure its requirements do not interfere with basic law enforcement functions in counterterrorism cases. And it insists that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the existing criminal enforcement and national security authorities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other domestic law enforcement agency with regard to a covered person, regardless whether such covered person is held in military custody.”
■Section 1023 requires minor adjustments to the President’s executive order setting up a review mechanism for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
■Section 1024 mandates the creation of new–and quite generous–procedures for determining the status of detainees held in military custody. The provision requires that, regardless of where detainees are held, the procedures “shall provide . . . in the case of any unprivileged enemy belligerent who will be held in long-term detention under the law of war”: a hearing before a military judge, who will make his status determination, and representation by military counsel in that proceeding if the detainee so chooses. These procedures can be applied as a matter of discretion where habeas is available–if, for example, you imagine a new detainee brought to Guantanamo or at any hypothetical facility in the United States. At Bagram and elsewhere, by contrast, they would seem to require a significant enhancement of process for detainees slated for long-term detention.
■Sections 1026 and 1027 prevent the use of federal funds for building detention facilities in the United States or transferring Guantanamo detainees to domestic facilities or releasing them into the United States. It effectively continues a congressional policy of preventing more Article III criminal trials of Guantanamo detainees and preventing the construction of alternative facilities that would enable President Obama to fulfill his promise to shutter Guantanamo.
■Section 1028 prevents overseas transfers of Guantanamo detainees in the absence of a rigorous certification by the Secretary of Defense that they will not pose a danger. Such a requirement under current law has effectively ground to a halt efforts to resettle certain Guantanamo detainees. This version’s certification requirement allows slightly more flexibility, though it’s not clear whether that difference will be meaningful in practice.
Does the NDAA expand the government’s detention authority?
Nope. Under current law, the Obama administration claims the authority to detain:
persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks. The President also has the authority to detain persons who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in aid of such enemy armed forces.
That claim of authority is based on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (“AUMF”) passed by Congress shortly after the September 11 attacks, as informed by the law of war. The Bush Administration previously claimed very similar authority, albeit invoking not just the AUMF but also the inherent power of the President under Article II of the Constitution. In any event, such claims have been subjected to judicial challenge repeatedly, most commonly in the context of the Guantanamo detainee habeas litigation. As we explain below, the courts have had a decidedly mixed reaction in the pair of cases involving persons captured within the United States, but as for persons captured abroad, they have largely endorsed the government’s position. The D.C. Circuit, in fact, has tentatively adopted a definition of the class detainable under the AUMF that is, if anything, broader than what the administration seeks. While the administration–and now Congress–would detain only on the basis of “substantial support,” the D.C. Circuit has articulated a standard which would permit detention of those who “purposefully and materially support” the enemy, even if not substantially.
In light of all this, a law that writes the administration’s successful litigating position into statute cannot reasonably be said to expand the government’s detention authority. In fact, to the extent that the new statutory language will preempt the arguably broader D.C. Circuit definition, it may actually narrow it–if only very slightly. So let’s compare the language of the administration’s claimed authority (quoted above) to the language of the NDAA:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
They are almost verbatim the same. The NDAA is really a codification in statute of the existing authority the administration claims. It puts Congress’s stamp of approval behind that claim for the first time, and that’s no small thing. But it does not–notwithstanding the widespread belief to the contrary–expand it. Nobody who is not subject to detention today will become so when the NDAA goes into effect.
The one area in which the NDAA could theoretically be said to expand detention authority involves people held on the basis not of membership in an enemy group but mere support for one. As noted above, the government has long claimed this authority already, and the DC Circuit has in fact endorsed a slightly broader formulation. But so far, anyway, it has done so in dicta only–that is, not in any case where the fact pattern actually depended on the resolution of that issue. In theory, then, the circuit (or the Supreme Court) might at some point have concluded that support alone is insufficient to support a detention. The NDAA will ensure that this does not happen by making clear that independent support does count as a ground for detention. So even as it marginally narrows the detainable class, the NDAA also ensures that courts will not narrow the scope of that class further.
Does the NDAA authorize the indefinite detention of citizens?
No, though it does not foreclose the possibility either. Congress ultimately included language in the NDAA expressly designed to leave this question untouched–that is, governed by pre-existing law, which as we explain below is unsettled on this question.
The confusion associated with the NDAA’s treatment of the citizenship issue is understandable. First, the NDAA’s text relevant to this question changed quite a bit over time. Second, the relationship of the NDAA to pre-existing detention authority is difficult to follow if one does not keep up with this area regularly. So let’s begin with an overview of that pre-existing authority, before turning to the NDAA itself.
During the administration of George W. Bush, the government used its detention authority under the AUMF (described above) in two instances involving U.S. citizens. The first involved Yaser Hamdi, who was captured by Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan in late 2001 and then later turned over to U.S. forces. He was at GTMO when the government determined he had a claim to US citizenship by virtue of having been born in Louisiana, and accordingly the government moved him to a military facility within the United States. A habeas proceeding followed, and ultimately went all the way to the Supreme Court. In 2004, the Court held that (i) the government’s authority to detain under the AUMF at least included armed members of the Taliban captured in Afghanistan (at least so long as fighting continued there), (ii) citizenship was no bar to detention in that circumstance, and (iii) citizenship did, however, entitle a detainee to a fair opportunity to contest the factual claims asserted by the government in support of detention.
Meanwhile, the government had arrested a suspected al Qaeda member–and U.S. citizen–named Jose Padilla, taking him into custody at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. He eventually ended up in military custody, and he too brought a habeas proceeding. To make a long story very short, his case first proceeded through the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel of which concluded that detention authority under the AUMF did not apply to a citizen suspected of being an al Qaeda member and captured in the U.S. After the Supreme Court required the petition to be refiled and relitigated in the Fourth Circuit (because that is where Padilla actually was held), a district court judge took the same position, but on appeal a Fourth Circuit panel held that Padilla could lawfully be detained after all–though in so holding, the panel focused on the factual assumption that Padilla had, like Hamdi, been on the battlefield in Afghanistan previously. The case was then set to go before the Supreme Court, but before it could weigh in on the merits, Padilla was shifted into civilian custody for a criminal trial (he was convicted, and is now in prison).
The government has not asserted authority to detain a citizen under the AUMF since this time, so the question of citizen detention has remained unsettled ever since. Which brings us at last to the NDAA.
An earlier version of the NDAA in the Senate contained language that strongly implied, without quite saying it, that citizens were included within the general grant of detention authority discussed above (see Bobby’s contemporaneous assessment here). This generated much debate and criticism, and eventually a group of senators offered an amendment to state explicitly that citizens could not be detained under the NDAA’s restatement of detention authority. That amendment was rejected, and at that point, Senator Feinstein offered a compromise, fall-back amendment stating simply that nothing in the NDAA should be taken to address this issue one way or the other. The explicit idea was to preserve the unsettled status quo described above, leaving it to the courts to determine if detention authority extends to citizens should the government ever again attempt to assert it (see here and here). That is the position on which the NDAA has now settled (here).
A final note: As Steve points out here, the courts may in the end adopt a “clear statement” requirement in relation to the citizen detention question. That is, they may hold that Congress must explicitly grant such authority before a statute like the AUMF or the NDAA can be read to grant it. If that occurs, of course, that likely will be the end of the matter, particularly in light of the explicit effort in the NDAA to remain agnostic rather than take sides on the question.
Does it mandate military detention of terrorist suspects?
Not really, though both supporters and critics seem quite sure that it does.
As we describe above, the NDAA clarifies that the government possesses detention authority as an option in cases involving members and non-member supporters of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and “associated forces.” The NDAA then goes on to impose certain requirements in cases involving a subset of that detainable group. The important questions are: Who is in this subset? When must that categorization decision be made? What exactly is mandatory when a person does turn out to be covered? And can the government still find a way to use the civilian trial option instead? The answers to all of these questions make the mandatory detention provision a lot less mandatory than it used to be, and a lot less mandatory than people think.
Who is covered? Not all detainable persons are subject to the so-called “mandatory detention” provision. Rather, it only applies to the subset of detainable persons who are (i) members (not independent supporters) of (ii) al Qaeda or its associated forces (not the Taliban or its associated forces). Even then, it applies only in the subset of circumstances in which the person is linked to a specific terrorist attack. The paradigm here is someone like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the AQAP member who tried to set off a bomb in his own underwear on a flight inbound for Detroit.
When must a categorization decision be made? Once the government determines that a captured person is in this special class, it is mandatory to hold him or her in military custody pending the selection of one of several disposition options enumerated in the statute. Of course, prior to the point in time that the categorization decision is made, this mandate does not kick in. Since we can readily imagine circumstances in which it is, in fact, quite hard to say whether a person was a member of al Qaeda or an associated force, or whether the person’s linkage to some terrorist plot suffices to satisfy that dimension of the covered person definition, it is easy to imagine that in some instances it will take a very long time to make this threshold determination and that in others, the determination won’t actually be possible at all. The NDAA, interestingly, does not impose any particular deadline on this decision-making process, nor does it impose conditions as to who must act as the ultimate decisionmaker, what standard of proof that person must employ, and so forth. Rather, the NDAA calls for the White House to promulgate procedures to flesh out its decision-making process in whatever way it sees fit. So, there is room for a fair amount of flexibility here.
What exactly is required for persons who are covered? Once the government determines that a captured person is covered, it must hold the person in military detention . . . but only pending disposition “under the law of war.” Now, at first blush, that just sounds like a reference to more military detention, or perhaps also a trial by military commission. But the NDAA, as we noted above, provides an interesting definition of what counts as a disposition “under the law of war.” Yes, both long-term military detention and trial by military commission are on the list, but so too are transfers to third-country custody and, most notably, trial by an alternative tribunal–and as the congressional debate made clear on many occassions, that last bit of language includes the option of a civilian criminal trial.
Can the government avoid having to use military detention in such cases? Yes. First, as explained above, the government does not have to use military detention until it determines that the person qualifies, which may take a great deal of time. Second, if the government is prepared to select the civilian prosecution option as its prefered disposition “under the law of war,” it can in theory make that determination simultaneously with its determination that the person is covered to begin with, leaving no moment when the person must be shifted over to military custody. Third, even if the government for some reason is unwilling to make such a contemporaneous determination, the statute expressly provides a “waiver” mechanism that simply turns that mandatory detention requirement off altogether, upon a written determination by the president–or some lower-level designee–that a waiver is in the interests of national security.
Of course, there are genuine political costs associated with pursuing either of these options. The NDAA for better or worse sets military detention as a quasi-default position for covered persons, and selecting a different option through either of these methods will be a visible, discrete act that can then become the basis for criticism.
Does it prevent the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay?
Yes. The NDAA does three things that make it impossible, at least during fiscal year 2012, for President Obama to fulfill his promise to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. It forbids him to spend any money readying an alternative site to house detainees in the United States. It forbids transfers of detainees to the United States. And it makes it difficult–though a little less difficult than it is under the current spending restrictions–to transfer detainees to third countries. To close Guantanamo, the administration would have to transfer a bunch of detainees to other countries, and it would have to move a bunch of other detainees to some alternative facility. So as long as these restrictions exist in U.S. law, Guantanamo is going nowhere.
These restrictions, it is worth noting, are already in current law. So while they are (in our opinion) bad ideas, they are by no means new the NDAA.
Does it prevent civilian criminal trials of terrorism suspects?
Yes and no. The restriction on transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States prevents civilian trials for anyone there. And earlier versions of the bill would have made it either difficult or impossible (depending on which version) to bring new captures to trial. But final version of the bill does not prevent civilian criminal trial for new captures, though it does authorize military detention as an alternative and, in some cases, as a default option.
Does it repeal the Bill of Rights?
No federal statute can repeal the Bill of Rights. To the extent any provision of the NDAA is found to conflict with any provision of the Bill of Rights, it will not survive constitutional scrutiny.
So if it doesn’t significantly expand the government’s detention authority, doesn’t authorize detention of citizens, doesn’t really mandate the military detention of other terrorist suspects, and doesn’t do more to prevent the closure of Gitmo than does current law, what’s all the fuss about? Is it even important?
The final bill is, indeed, far less consequential than earlier versions would have been. Much of the fuss is overblown. That said, the bill has several important elements:
■The codification of detention authority in statute is a significant development, not because it enables anything that Congress had previously forbidden but because it puts the legislature squarely behind a set of policies on which it had always retained a kind of strategic ambiguity–a tolerance for detention without a clear endorsement of it of the sort that would make members accountable. Congress has now given that endorsement, and that is no small thing.
■The transfer restrictions will continue to have negative effects on administration management of detainee affairs, reducing flexibility and agility and compelling the continued detention of people the administration does not want to detain, in a status the administration does not wish to use, and at a facility it would prefer to vacate. That this is no change from current law–indeed, that the NDAA offers slightly more flexibility than does current law–does not make these restrictions any less troublesome.
■The rump mandatory detention provision remains a bit of a wild card that could have mischievous effects in practice. Though it ends up requiring very little, it does impose–as we have described–a default option of military detention for certain categories of cases. And this option might prove politically difficult to jettison.
Is there anything in the NDAA about which human rights groups and civil libertarians ought to be pleased?
Yes, actually, there is. Section 1024 of the bill, as we’ve noted, requires that people subject to long-term military detention in circumstances not already subject to habeas corpus review–think the Detention Facility in Parwan, Afghanistan–henceforth shall have the right to a military lawyer and a proceeding before a military judge in order to contest the government’s factual basis for believing them to be subject to detention. This is an extraordinary and novel development. Detainees in Afghanistan currently have access to the Detainee Review Board process, which as described in this article already provide a relatively robust screening mechanism, particularly compared to years past. The DRB process does not include lawyers and judges, however, and human rights advocacy groups have criticized them on this ground. Requiring lawyers and judges to staff out the screening process is a pretty remarkable shift in the direction of accomodating those concerns.
What’s more, while human rights groups have decried the codification of detention authority, the codification does preclude certain interpretations of the AUMF that human rights groups hated. For example, while the difference between the D.C. Circuit’s embrace of the “purposefully and materially support” standard and the administration’s language seems pretty slight, the D.C. Circuit language did–which the NDAA now jettisons–keep critics up at night. And the D.C. Circuit famously flirted in one case with the notion that international law does not inform or limit detention authority under the AUMF–a position that the explicit references to the “law of war” in the NDAA seems to reject.
In short, the bill is a mixed bag–almost no matter what vantage point one examines it from.
The votes , , , and a possible consequence
Reply #3 on:
December 28, 2011, 11:11:26 AM »
In favor: 45
In favor: 40
In favor: 93
In favor: 187
NDAA Vote Could Force Recall of Montana Senators, Congressman
On Christmas Day, Montanans decided to give their Congressional district a gift they won't soon forget— a notice of possible recall of the Senators and one Congressman who voted for the controversial, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The recall effort was started by William Crain, an artist, and by Stewart Rhodes, an attorney and national president of the organization, The Oath Keepers.
Their intentions are to oust Senators Max Baucus (D) and Jonathan Tester (D) as well as Representative Denny Rehberg (R) from office for voting for a bill that, many say, decimates America's Bill of Rights.
Montana is one of only 9 states that allow for recall of members of its federal congressional delegations based on "violations of oath of office" among other issues. (The other 8 states that allow such recalls are Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin).
In their press release, Rhodes (a former staffer of Rep. Ron Paul) said:
These politicians from both parties betrayed our trust, and violated the oath they took to defend the Constitution. It's not about the left or right, it's about our Bill of Rights. Without the Bill of Rights, there is no America. It is the Crown Jewel of our Constitution, and the high-water mark of Western Civilization.
Will this Recall Work?
Whether or not this recall will work is unknown. For instance, New Jersey's federal recall attempt (on another issue) was struck down by a federal judge when the judge ruled that the Federal Constitution did not permit states the power to recall Senators. However, the Constitution of the United States allows (by not excluding) the right to recall both members of the Senate and of the House.
After all, the 10th Amendment of the Constitution reads:
The powers not...prohibited...are reserved to the states...or to the people.
Although the right of recall was previously struck down, it has never been taken to a federal court. However, if there's one person who could take it all the way to the United States Supreme Court (if need be) it would be Stewart Rhodes.
Who is Stewart Rhodes?
In addition to being a former staffer of Ron Paul, Rhodes and his "Oath Keepers" staunchly defends the Constitution of the United States. Its members are all current and former military or law enforcement personnel who have been accused of having extremist views at times.
Whether or not this recall of Montana's Senators and Congressman succeeds, this effort should put other congressional districts and the President of the United States on notice. The NDAA is the most controversial bill since the Patriot Act. The furor raised over the obliteration of America'a Bill of Rights is something that this writer thinks will not die anytime soon — nor should it.
Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 11:22:17 AM by Crafty_Dog
Reply #4 on:
January 04, 2012, 08:50:09 AM »
What do we make of this?
Reply #5 on:
January 04, 2012, 09:26:07 PM »
the signing statement that accompanied NDAA
Reply #6 on:
January 09, 2012, 01:44:55 PM »
Statement by the President on H.R. 1540
Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012." I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.
The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.
Against that record of success, some in Congress continue to insist upon restricting the options available to our counterterrorism professionals and interfering with the very operations that have kept us safe. My Administration has consistently opposed such measures. Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people. Moving forward, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded.
Section 1021 affirms the executive branch's authority to detain persons covered by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note). This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary. The authority it describes was included in the 2001 AUMF, as recognized by the Supreme Court and confirmed through lower court decisions since then. Two critical limitations in section 1021 confirm that it solely codifies established authorities. First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not "limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force." Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any "existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States." My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.
Section 1022 seeks to require military custody for a narrow category of non-citizen detainees who are "captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force." This section is ill-conceived and will do nothing to improve the security of the United States. The executive branch already has the authority to detain in military custody those members of al-Qa'ida who are captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the AUMF, and as Commander in Chief I have directed the military to do so where appropriate. I reject any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat. While section 1022 is unnecessary and has the potential to create uncertainty, I have signed the bill because I believe that this section can be interpreted and applied in a manner that avoids undue harm to our current operations.
I have concluded that section 1022 provides the minimally acceptable amount of flexibility to protect national security. Specifically, I have signed this bill on the understanding that section 1022 provides the executive branch with broad authority to determine how best to implement it, and with the full and unencumbered ability to waive any military custody requirement, including the option of waiving appropriate categories of cases when doing so is in the national security interests of the United States. As my Administration has made clear, the only responsible way to combat the threat al-Qa'ida poses is to remain relentlessly practical, guided by the factual and legal complexities of each case and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each system. Otherwise, investigations could be compromised, our authorities to hold dangerous individuals could be jeopardized, and intelligence could be lost. I will not tolerate that result, and under no circumstances will my Administration accept or adhere to a rigid across-the-board requirement for military detention. I will therefore interpret and implement section 1022 in the manner that best preserves the same flexible approach that has served us so well for the past 3 years and that protects the ability of law enforcement professionals to obtain the evidence and cooperation they need to protect the Nation.
My Administration will design the implementation procedures authorized by section 1022(c) to provide the maximum measure of flexibility and clarity to our counterterrorism professionals permissible under law. And I will exercise all of my constitutional authorities as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief if those procedures fall short, including but not limited to seeking the revision or repeal of provisions should they prove to be unworkable.
Sections 1023-1025 needlessly interfere with the executive branch's processes for reviewing the status of detainees. Going forward, consistent with congressional intent as detailed in the Conference Report, my Administration will interpret section 1024 as granting the Secretary of Defense broad discretion to determine what detainee status determinations in Afghanistan are subject to the requirements of this section.
Sections 1026-1028 continue unwise funding restrictions that curtail options available to the executive branch. Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States for any purpose. I continue to oppose this provision, which intrudes upon critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terrorists in Federal court. Those prosecutions are a legitimate, effective, and powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation. Removing that tool from the executive branch does not serve our national security. Moreover, this intrusion would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles.
Section 1028 modifies but fundamentally maintains unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch's authority to transfer detainees to a foreign country. This hinders the executive's ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and like section 1027, would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. The executive branch must have the flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers. In the event that the statutory restrictions in sections 1027 and 1028 operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my Administration will interpret them to avoid the constitutional conflict.
Section 1029 requires that the Attorney General consult with the Director of National Intelligence and Secretary of Defense prior to filing criminal charges against or seeking an indictment of certain individuals. I sign this based on the understanding that apart from detainees held by the military outside of the United States under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, the provision applies only to those individuals who have been determined to be covered persons under section 1022 before the Justice Department files charges or seeks an indictment. Notwithstanding that limitation, this provision represents an intrusion into the functions and prerogatives of the Department of Justice and offends the longstanding legal tradition that decisions regarding criminal prosecutions should be vested with the Attorney General free from outside interference. Moreover, section 1029 could impede flexibility and hinder exigent operational judgments in a manner that damages our security. My Administration will interpret and implement section 1029 in a manner that preserves the operational flexibility of our counterterrorism and law enforcement professionals, limits delays in the investigative process, ensures that critical executive branch functions are not inhibited, and preserves the integrity and independence of the Department of Justice.
Other provisions in this bill above could interfere with my constitutional foreign affairs powers. Section 1244 requires the President to submit a report to the Congress 60 days prior to sharing any U.S. classified ballistic missile defense information with Russia. Section 1244 further specifies that this report include a detailed description of the classified information to be provided. While my Administration intends to keep the Congress fully informed of the status of U.S. efforts to cooperate with the Russian Federation on ballistic missile defense, my Administration will also interpret and implement section 1244 in a manner that does not interfere with the President's constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs and avoids the undue disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications. Other sections pose similar problems. Sections 1231, 1240, 1241, and 1242 could be read to require the disclosure of sensitive diplomatic communications and national security secrets; and sections 1235, 1242, and 1245 would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with foreign governments. Like section 1244, should any application of these provisions conflict with my constitutional authorities, I will treat the provisions as non-binding.
My Administration has worked tirelessly to reform or remove the provisions described above in order to facilitate the enactment of this vital legislation, but certain provisions remain concerning. My Administration will aggressively seek to mitigate those concerns through the design of implementation procedures and other authorities available to me as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief, will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future, and will seek the repeal of any provisions that undermine the policies and values that have guided my Administration throughout my time in office.
Re: National Defense Authorization Act NDAA
Reply #7 on:
January 09, 2012, 04:15:08 PM »
May I ask you for your assessment of the sections and BO's interpretation thereof?
National Defense: John Lehman - The Seas Are Great but the Navy Is Small
Reply #8 on:
April 27, 2012, 06:51:36 AM »
The Seas Are Great but the Navy Is Small
The Obama administration says it wants 300 ships, but it is reducing the number now while promising to build more far into the future, most after a second Obama term.
By JOHN LEHMAN
In recent weeks, the Pentagon leadership has been defending the indefensible before Congress. Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently on record deploring last year's budget cuts are now claiming that the Obama administration's latest—and still lower—defense budget is adequate. Really?
Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work, an experienced veteran, defended the president's goal of a 300-ship Navy in an interview last week with the website AOL Defense. He claimed it was equivalent to the Reagan administration's goal of a 600-ship Navy, on the grounds that newer ships are better than the ones they replace.
That is true in some cases, such as submarines. But it is not true for other ships such as the new LCS (littoral combat ship), which does not have the firepower of the older frigates. Moreover, our potential adversaries, from pirates to the Iranian Navy, have improved their ships as well.
But most important, numbers still count: The seas are great and our Navy is small. Mr. Work's statement to AOL Defense that "the United States Navy will be everywhere in the world that it has been, and it will be as much [present] as the 600-ship navy" is not persuasive.
The size of the Navy in the Reagan administration (it reached 594 ships in 1987) reflected a strategy to deter the Soviet Union's world-wide naval force. Today we face no such powerful naval adversary, but the world is just as large, and there is now greater American dependence on global trade and many more disturbers of the peace.
While we do not need 600 ships today, no naval experts believe a 300-ship Navy is large enough to guarantee freedom of the seas for American and allied trade, for supporting threatened allies, for deterring rogue states like Iran from closing vital straits, and for maintaining stability in areas like the western Pacific. For example, the bipartisan Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel led by Stephen Hadley and William Perry last year concluded that the Navy should have at least 346 vessels.
Last week, members of the House Armed Services Committee challenged the president's plan. In response to a question about whether the Navy was changing how it counts ships to prop up the size of the fleet, Mr. Work insisted that he was following the same rules for counting ships I established 30 years ago as President Reagan's secretary of the Navy. He is correct; while there are some differences, they are minor. The Navy has not fudged the numbers.
The more troubling problem is that the administration is counting ships that won't be built at all. Last year, the president's budget called for cuts of $487 billion over the next decade. Mr. Obama also supports the additional cuts growing out of the sequester that went into effect after last year's super committee failed to agree on savings in the overall budget. Unless the law is changed, this means an additional half-trillion dollars in mandatory defense reductions over the next decade—cuts that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said would be "devastating."
Naval readiness is already highly fragile. In order to meet current operational requirements, the shrunken fleet stays deployed longer and gets repaired less. There is now a serious shortage of Navy combat aircraft, and for the first time since World War II there are essentially no combat attrition reserves. But the biggest effect of budget cuts will be on naval shipbuilding.
Currently the Navy has 286 ships. In order to pay for current operations, Mr. Obama is retiring 11 modern combat ships (seven cruisers and four amphibious vessels) well before their useful life. In order to reach a 350-ship fleet in our lifetime, we will need to increase shipbuilding to an average of 15 ships every year. The latest budget the administration has advanced proposes buying just 41 ships over five years. It is anything but certain that the administration's budgets will sustain even that rate of only eight ships per year, but even if they do, the United States is headed for a Navy of 240-250 ships at best.
So how is the Obama administration getting to a 300-ship Navy? It projects a huge increase in naval shipbuilding beginning years down the road, most of which would come after a second Obama term. In other words, the administration is radically cutting the size and strength of the Navy now, while trying to avoid accountability by assuming that a future president will find the means to fix the problem in the future.
This compromises our national security. The Navy is the foundation of America's economic and political presence in the world. Other nations, like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, are watching what we do—and on the basis of the evidence, they are undoubtedly concluding that under Mr. Obama America is declining in power and resolution. Russia and China have each embarked on ambitious and enormously expensive naval buildups with weapons designed specifically against American carriers and submarines.
Under Ronald Reagan, the U.S. increased its naval strength to the point that it was a major factor in the decision of Soviet leaders to abandon the Cold War without firing a shot. The Navy under Mr. Obama is heading in the opposite direction.
This is not the fault of the senior Navy leadership, which has to operate within the limits set by the White House. During the Reagan years, those of us in leadership positions served a commander in chief who understood, completely and instinctively, the relationship between American strength and the protection of peace and freedom in an unstable world. Current Pentagon leaders do not have that advantage. And that is a compelling reason why a change at the top is vital for the future safety of the American people.
Mr. Lehman was secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission. He is a senior adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
(WSJ subscription to any device:
Re: National Defense Authorization Act NDAA
Reply #9 on:
May 01, 2012, 05:19:17 AM »
Profoundly important and quite misplaced in this thread. Please post in the Military Science thread.
This amendment sounds really good
Reply #10 on:
May 16, 2012, 08:20:21 AM »
Gun Owners of America
Two Representatives Looking
to Neuter the NDAA
-- Amendment would protect you from indefinite detention
Representatives Justin Amash (R-MI) and Adam Smith (D-WA) are looking to fix one of the most troubling pieces of legislation that have passed during Barack Obama’s presidency.
As you know, at the end of last year, Congress passed and Barack Obama signed a defense authorization bill which contained two very dangerous provisions.
The first of these troubling provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] is section 1021. It would allow American citizens to be arrested on American soil, detained indefinitely, tried in a military court, and deported to a Third World country for torture.
And all of this could be done without a trial!
An American could be detained if he “substantially supported” an individual who engaged in a belligerent act against the U.S. or its allies, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Thus, if you were to sell a gun to a Timothy McVeigh, unaware of his intentions, you could have all of your constitutional rights summarily taken away by Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder under the terms of this law.
The Amash provision would amend section 1021 by barring the U.S. military from putting any citizen into indefinite detention without a charge or trial.
Another provision in the NDAA [section 1022] actually requires the military to put certain civilian suspects into military detention. While the administration has waived this provision’s applicability to certain groups of people, the underlying law could still be enforced one day by the Obama administration (or a future administration).
The Amash amendment would repeal section 1022 entirely.
ACTION: Please click here to ask your representative to support the NDAA-neutering amendment to H.R. 4310.
Today's actions in Congress
Reply #11 on:
May 18, 2012, 10:18:13 PM »
In addition to asking for money, this email which appeared in my inbox today seems to have some useful specificity-- though I confess I'm not sure I followed the part about illegal aliens and habeas corpus.
Today, Congress had a chance to fix a mess of their own making - and they blew it.
Instead of prohibiting indefinite detention of persons arrested on U.S. soil who have been merely accused of “substantially supporting” al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces,” Congress actually made things worse.
In a moment, I’ll ask that you contact Congress.
But first, allow me to briefly explain what happened.
As you should be aware, last year, Senator Carl Levin authored a provision, Section 1021 and 1022, into the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that allows the President to indefinitely detain American citizens and foreigners who are arrested on U.S. soil on the mere accusation of supporting terrorism.
In a signing statement, the President assured Americans that he wouldn’t use this power.
With all due respect to the President, his word is not much to go on and certainly not enough to relieve my concerns.
That brings us to today.
Early this morning, Congress voted on the Smith(WA)/Amash/Berman/Garamendi/Duncan(TN)/Johnson(GA)/Gosar/Hirono/Paul/Jackson Lee/Tipton/Labrador Amendment that would have prevented indefinite detention of persons detained on U.S. soil.
This was the only amendment that would have substantively addressed the problem by definitively stating the President does not have the authority to indefinitely detain persons arrested on U.S. soil in military custody.
Unfortunately, it failed by a vote of 182-238.
There are several reasons for this.
For one, Congress was offered a smokescreen amendment that was voted on immediately after the Smith/Amash amendment was rejected.
This amendment, offered by Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1), was even worse than doing nothing, and it will likely exacerbate the problems and ambiguity regarding the detention of “suspected terrorists.”
The first part simply reiterates that Americans have Habeas Corpus rights.
Except no one is arguing otherwise.
In fact, the Constitution clearly states that the “Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended” unless by an act of Congress. Since Congress has not explicitly passed an act stating it is suspended, all persons in the United States have that right.
Where it has potential to make the problem worse is two-fold, as Steven Vladeck blogged at Lawfare:
“First, it introduces uncertainty regarding whether individuals arrested within the United States but out of immigration status are entitled to pursue habeas relief (never mind the countless immigration cases where such relief has historically been available—and the compelling constitutional arguments supporting that jurisprudence). Second, the 30-day provision would arguably allow the government to preclude a detainee’s access to court (or counsel) for 30 days, whereas under current law, the detainee may file the moment he is ‘in custody under or by color of the authority of the United States.’”
So, in addition to rejecting an amendment that quite clearly would protect due process and the rule of law, Congress actually managed to make the situation much worse by passing the Gohmert amendment by a vote of 243-173.
Another reason for the Smith/Amash amendment failing is the outrageous and hyperbolic accusations lobbed at it from Wall Street Journal op-ed pages and even by alleged “Tea Party” members of Congress.
One such attack came from Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-16). Rooney issued a press release Thursday claiming the Smith/Amash amendment “coddled foreign enemy combatants” and would provide incentive for attacks on U.S. soil.
Excuse me, but since when did suicide terrorists suddenly begin to contemplate whether they’ll end up in a military tribunal or Article III court before carrying out their dastardly deeds?
In reality, if a terrorist were able to carry out an attack on U.S. soil, the government should look inward – at the failure of the intelligence community and their own national security state in this post-9/11 world.
Nevertheless, these are the sorts of absurd, illogical statements that were used to convince your member of Congress to vote against the only amendment that would have prevented the government from indefinitely detaining you.
By failing to adopt the Smith/Amash amendment, the government still has the authority to indefinitely detain anyone the government accuses of “supporting terrorism.”
And remember, not too long ago, it was C4L members who were listed in a Missouri Fusion Center report, later referred to as the MIAC report, as domestic extremists to be watched.
And it wasn’t just C4L members on that list, but people displaying third party logos and bumper stickers and supporters of specific politicians.
In the past, everyone from gun owners, to pro-lifers, to tea partiers, were labeled “terrorists” by their political opponents.
This is why it’s of the utmost importance that the indefinite detention of persons by the military be prohibited.
Perhaps this President won’t use such authority, but what about the next? And the one after that?
Click here to find out who voted against the Smith/Amash amendment.
And click here to see who voted for the final bill.
If your representative voted against the amendment and/or for final passage of this year's NDAA, I need you to contact them immediately and demand they change their misguided views and stop allowing the military to arrest and detain innocent citizens.
Let your representative know you’ve seen through the smokescreen that was the Gohmert amendment, and you aren’t fooled for a second.
In addition, make sure your representative realizes that Section 1021 of the NDAA was declared unconstitutional this week in a U.S. District Court, and that a temporary stay on enforcement of that measure has been granted.
Finally, make it clear you'll be telling your fellow constituents that your representative abandoned them to a growing police state.
Congress created this unconstitutional mess, and it’s Congress that will have to fix it.
After you've contacted your representative, get in touch with your senators to demand they vote against the NDAA as long as it contains these indefinite detention provisions.
And stay tuned to CampaignforLiberty.org, as we look ahead to fighting this bill in the Senate next week and doing our best to prevent the government from being able to indefinitely detain innocent Americans.
Director of Legislation
P.S. Earlier today, the U.S House voted down an amendment that would have prohibited the military from being able to indefinitely detain you. It later voted for final passage of this year's NDAA.
If your representative voted against the Smith/Amash amendment or voted for final passage, contact them immediately to demand they change their misguided view and stop allowing the military to arrest and detain Americans!
Then contact your senators to urge them to vote against the NDAA as long as it contains these provisions.
As the fight over the FY 2013 NDAA heads to the Senate, please chip in $10 or $25, or whatever you can afford, so C4L can continue leading the fight to prevent the military from detaining you for as long as it wants
RP on NDAA
Reply #12 on:
May 21, 2012, 06:45:47 PM »
WSJ: The Tea Party goes to War
Reply #13 on:
November 29, 2012, 12:38:58 PM »
There's a lot to be said for the libertarian approach to government, but the realities of a dangerous world can make its more rigid adherents seem naïve. The latest example is an amendment to the current Defense authorization bill from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Utah's Mike Lee that would treat al Qaeda detainees like common burglars.
The two Republicans want to require that any U.S. citizen or permanent resident apprehended on U.S. soil as part of the war on terror be offered a speedy trial like a criminal suspect. Their co-sponsors are Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California and Max Baucus of Montana, in what is a merger of convenience between the anti-antiterror left and the tea party right.
Both the Bush and Obama Administrations have rejected such a policy on sound security and constitutional grounds. The war powers of a President are vast and different from the powers of a district attorney for very good reasons. He needs the flexibility to capture and interrogate combatants to stop current or future threats, not merely to punish past criminal behavior.
This includes the vital need to be able to interrogate terror suspects before they're read their Miranda warnings and clam up. Wartime detention is not about punishment but about keeping enemies off the battlefield. Evidence sufficient for a domestic criminal conviction often isn't present against such detainees, and it isn't required under the laws of war.
U.S. courts have ruled more than once that the citizenship of a member of a foreign army is irrelevant during wartime. Anyone who takes up arms against the U.S., fails to wear a uniform and targets civilians is an unlawful enemy combatant regardless of citizenship.
This question last reached the Supreme Court in the 2004 case of Louisiana-born al Qaeda terrorist Yasser Hamdi. The Court said that Hamdi deserved a habeas corpus hearing to challenge his detention, but it reasonably declined to equate his predicament with that of a domestic criminal.
With its strict rules on surveillance, the U.S. is already something of a safe haven for people who wish to kill innocents. Exempting U.S. citizens from terrorist detention procedures would exacerbate the problem by giving al Qaeda further incentive to recruit inside the U.S. Remember that al Qaeda cell in the Yemeni community near Buffalo that was exposed in 2002? The Paul-Lee-Feinstein amendment would encourage more such recruitment.
If the Senators have evidence that the terrorist detainee process has been abused to the detriment of American citizens, perhaps they could provide some examples. On the available evidence, the safeguards in place have protected both U.S. liberties and the public from terror attack.
Rand Paul: Senate passes amendment stripping the indefinite detention language
Reply #14 on:
November 30, 2012, 08:12:16 AM »
Dear Marc F.,
The right to a trial by jury is one of the very foundations of our Republic.
Thanks to the petitions and phone calls from concerned Americans like you, the Amendment stripping the indefinite detention language out of the NDAA just passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 67-29.
But this fight isn't over yet.
Since the Senate amended the NDAA, it now has to go back to the House for approval.
So you and I must remain prepared to pick up this fight in the Senate in the near future.
Once again, thank you for all you do. I'll be sure and keep you updated on our fight to protect the 6th Amendment rights of all Americans.
Senator Rand Paul
P.S. Thanks to your efforts, the Amendment stripping the indefinite detention language out of the NDAA just passed the U.S. Senate.
But since the bill has to go back to the House for approval, this fight isn't over yet.
If you could chip in $10 or $20 to help RAND PAC lead the fight to defend our 6th Amendment freedoms, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Re: National Defense Authorization Act NDAA
Reply #15 on:
December 12, 2012, 10:44:55 AM »
There has been a lot of smoke and a lot of smoke and mirrors with regard to the NDAA. I have no idea whatsoever as to the reliability of the post that follows, but post it here with the idea of accumulating some data to compensate for the considerable static that exists with regard to the NDAA.
Sen. Rand Paul: Indefinite detention back in bill, vote is today
Reply #16 on:
December 20, 2012, 02:24:35 PM »
Dear Marc F.,
Indefinite detention of American citizens is back.
Just yesterday Senator John McCain's conference committee stripped the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention out of the NDAA.
And final passage of the bill will be voted on TODAY. If the statists succeed in passing the NDAA, the federal government will be given the authority to lock up Americans and throw away the key for another year. That's why it's vital you call your U.S. Senators IMMEDIATELY and DEMAND they oppose the NDAA. You can reach your Senators at (202) 224-3121.
And while you're at it, give Senator McCain a call at (202) 224-2235. Tell him our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at his convenience - and demand he stop shredding our Constitution.
When I entered the U.S. Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. And an oath to God is something I take seriously. For this reason, I will strongly oppose passage of the NDAA today when it comes up for a vote. But I can't win this fight without your support.
So please call your U.S. Senators right away and demand they vote against the NDAA.
Senator Rand Paul
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