National Security Network

NSN Statement: Don’t Let Down Our National Security Leaders, Clarity Still Needed on Detainee Issues in Defense Bill

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Press Release Washington, D.C. 14 December 2011

Terrorism & National Security Terrorism & National Security Detainees NDAA

Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted for final passage of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), clearing the way for the Senate to take up the bill. Meanwhile today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that the President’s senior advisors are withdrawing the veto threat over controversial terrorist detention provisions in the NDAA.In response to these developments, NSN Executive Director Heather Hurlburt issued the following statement:

"This outcome is a disappointment for the military and security leaders who agree that the American judicial system is one of the most effective weapons in fighting terrorism, having put away nearly seventy times the number of terrorists that military commissions have in the last decade. Our national security leaders do not support mandatory military custody or indefinite military detention of terrorist suspects. The NDAA as written lacks clarity on these points.

Former military and national security leaders, as well as civil libertarians, former intelligence officials, former Bush administration officials, and regular citizens on the left and the right have been active in opposing the potential militarization of our justice system. The decision to proceed with this bill puts a heavy burden on the White House to interpret and implement confusing and bureaucratic requirements in a way that gives the tools that military and law enforcement need and protects American citizens and their civil liberties.  While we are pleased with the decision to remove certain provisions - one authorizing permanent war and another forbidding federal courts from prosecuting terrorism suspects held in the U.S.- which although broadly panned, were not guaranteed to be dropped from the final bill, it is disappointing that our leaders in Washington have not been able to provide a clear-cut resolution to the other concerns raised by the bipartisan national security establishment."

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