No, folks, the news out of the Oval Office isn’t really any better for those who fear the erosion of our civil liberties:
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at ACLU, said Wednesday night that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 was still highly problematic despite changes to the bill.
“It was an awful bill before and it is an awful bill now,” he told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Provisions within the legislation would authorize the U.S. to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists anywhere in the world without charge or trial, and require them to be held in military custody. Civil liberties advocates and others were furious at lawmakers for the broad scope of the provision, which could have allowed U.S. citizens on U.S. soil to be indefinitely detained without trial.
Obama threatened to veto the entire bill because of the provisions, which he said were “inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”
The latest version of the bill, drafted by the House-Senate conference committee, kept the provisions. But it exempted U.S. citizens from the requirement for terror suspects to be held in military custody and included language stating that the bill did not extend new authority to detain U.S. citizens.
Due to the changes, the White House announced Wednesday it would not veto the bill.
The bill forces federal agencies to treat non-citizen terrorism suspects as enemies waging war against the U.S. rather than criminals. FBI Director Robert Mueller said the provisions would disrupt, rather than strengthen, efforts to fight terrorism in the U.S.