The House and Senate Armed Services Committees met last Monday to “reconcile” the two respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 which the House (HR 1540) and the Senate (S 1867) had passed.
It appears they’ve removed U.S. citizens from S. 1867 Section 1031’s arrest and detention without charge or trial. But then, it doesn’t.
Donna Cassata of the AP reports, Dec. 13, 2011:
WASHINGTON – Congress is pressing ahead with a massive $662 billion defense bill that requires military custody for terrorism suspects linked to al-Qaida, including those captured within the U.S., with lawmakers hoping their last-minute revisions will mollify President Barack Obama and eliminate a veto threat.
Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees announced late Monday that they had reached agreement on the policy-setting legislation that had gotten caught up in an escalating fight on whether to treat suspected terrorists as prisoners of war or criminals in the civilian justice system. […]
The lawmakers said they hoped the House and Senate could vote on the final bill by Thursday and send it to the president.
The issue of how to handle captured terrorist suspects has divided Obama’s senior national security officials and Congress, as well as Democrats and Republicans.
The administration insists that military, law enforcement and intelligence officials need flexibility in prosecuting the war on terror. Obama points to his administration’s successes in eliminating Osama bin Laden and radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Republicans counter that their efforts are necessary to respond to an evolving, post-Sept. 11 threat, and that Obama has failed to produce a consistent policy on handling terror suspects.
The bill would require that the military take custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates who is involved in plotting or committing attacks on the United States, with an exemption for U.S. citizens.
Several paragraphs after that, however, there’s this paragraph:
The legislation would deny suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. The lawmakers made no changes to that language.
I’m thoroughly confused. I will need to find and read the final “reconciled” version of the NDAA, but the bill is not yet available on the Library of Congress’ Thomas website.
At this point, it looks to me that this “reconciled” version has retained S. 1867’s Sections 1031 and 1032. The “exemption for U.S. citizens” pertains to Sec. 1032; the indefinite detention and denial of the right to trial to “even U.S. citizens” pertains to S.1867’s Sec. 1031 — the same Sec. 1031 that we find so problematic and threatening.
So much for conservatives putting our hopes in Congressman Allen West, who’s a member of the “conference committee” that produced this reconciled version of the NDAA. If you need more confirmation that Allen West is an enemy of freedom, listen to Glenn Beck’s radio interview of West on the NDAA yesterday. Go here. I heard it live and was ready to spit nails.
Allen West also voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, the passage of which immediately increased our national debt ceiling by $2+ trillion.
I will do everything I can to see that Allen West does not get re-elected.