Reality Check: The Obama administration demanded power to detain U.S. citizens

Published: Dec. 16, 2011 at 4:08 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM EST
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Two weeks ago I told you that the U.S. Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act to fund the military. But within that act is a provision known as section 1031. That section allows the U.S. government to indefinitely imprison any person, whether a U.S. citizen or not, as long as the President deems them a terror suspect.

So didn't President Obama say he would veto this bill as long as that provision remained? Yes. On Nov. 17, when the Senate approved their version of the bill, the White House issued a warning saying:

"This military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets."- Executive Office of the President.

From that statement and others from the President, it appeared that the administration was against Section 1031 because it required that terror suspects be detained by military forces and an exception to that could only be granted by the Secretary of Defense.

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced that the President won't veto the NDAA because the military custody mandate has been "softened."

The bill now gives the President the immediate power to issue a waiver of the military custody requirement, instead of the Defense Secretary, and gives the President discretion in implementing these new provisions.

So lets cut through all this spin. The President now says he will sign a bill that stomps on due process by allowing U.S. citizens to be detained indefinitely without charges filed against them and without a trial.

A bill that allows U.S. citizens transported to overseas prisons without charges filed, because now, he has the power to issue a waiver instead of the Secretary of Defense.

So here's the question. Do you believe that President Obama didn't want the power of indefinite detention to be given to the Office of the President?

According to Sen. Carl Levin, who helped to craft this bill, not only did the President want the power, this administration was the one who demanded the power to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely 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?" Levin said on the Senate floor.

This is exactly why there are millions of Americans from across the political spectrum who are saying who cares if the politician has an (R) by their name or (D).

None of these men and women deserve this kind of authority.

Our founders and framers designed our Constitution in such a way that the people of this nation would be ruled by law and not by the whims of a ruler.

The majority of Americans may be asleep on this, may have no idea what's happening even as so many of your rights are being taken away.

Samuel Adams said that was OK. "It does not take a majority to prevail..." he once said, "but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men."

And that is Reality Check.

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