Reality Check: Should we believe President Obama about not fearing the National Defense Authorization Act?
The National Defense Authorization Act, the controversial law that allows for the detention of American citizens without a trial, is now law.
President Obama signed the act New Year's Day while in Hawaii.
President Obama says you have nothing to fear. Should you believe him?
I told you about the powers in the National Defense Authorization Act weeks ago when the bill passed the Senate. The bill allows for funding for the military, military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, as well as a provision that gives the President of the United States the power to detain terror suspects, even if they are U.S. citizens, and hold them indefinitely without trial.
On Monday, the White House issued a statement to put fears of what that means to rest.
"I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," the statement said. "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.-statement by the president on H.R. 1540."
The president, while on vacation, signed the bill into law, even though he has made clear he objects to sections in the NDAA that "regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists."
So now that this bill has become law, just what power does the president now have?
Under the provisions of section 1031, the president is afforded the absolute power to arrest and detain citizens of the United States without their being informed of any criminal charges, without a trial on the merits of those charges and without any due process safeguards protected by the constitution of the United States.
But even as President Obama puts on the face of seeming reluctant but willing to accept these new powers, don't believe everything you hear.
According to Democrat Senator Carl Levin, it was Obama administration that demanded the power to indefinite detention be placed inside the bill.
"And I'm wondering whether the senator is familiar with the fact that the language, the language which precluded the application of section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved in the armed services committee, and the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section?
"Is the senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language we had in the bill which passed the committee and that we removed it at the request of the administration, that would have said that this determination would not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful residents?" said Levin.
Here's what you need to know.
How do the American people who know of this bill feel about it? Got to opencongress.org and see for yourself. Of those voting, only 2 percent support the bill.
And this is no a partisan issue. This is a freedom issue.
If President Obama truly believed this was too much power for the office of the president, not only would he not have asked for it in the first place, he would have vetoed the bill.
Because if he really believed this power for indefinite detention was unconstitutional to the point that he promises to never use it against American citizens, he would have vetoed the bill to prevent the next president and the one after that from using that power against the citizens of this nation.