The NDAA Affair: Detainment Forever and Response of U.S. Senator Lautenberg

Letter to senator Lautenberg was similar to the one sent to senator Menendez. The *Italics are my comments

This letter was a reply from the office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg [D, NJ] on February 13, 2012

In Response to Your Message:

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Dear Ms. Dealmagro:

Thank you for contacting me regarding detention provisions in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.On June 16, 2011, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY 2012 NDAA. This legislation would have required certain terror suspects to be held in military custody, regardless of where they were captured. In addition, this legislation would have codified the authority for the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including U.S. citizens, without charge or trial.

During consideration of this bill on the Senate floor, I supported an amendment which would have removed these provisions and established an orderly process for Congress to consider the Administration?s detention authorities. I also supported amendments that would have ensured that the provision requiring military custody would only apply to those terror suspects captured abroad and would clarify that this bill would not codify the authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens.

I am disappointed that these amendments were not approved by the Senate. The FY 2012 NDAA was signed into law on December 31, 2011. While this law does include the provisions requiring military custody and codifying the authority to indefinitely detain certain terror suspects, it includes language to exempt U.S. citizens from these requirements.

*This last sentence is just another way of addressing the fact that the president – any president – has now the authority to either apply the military detention provision or letting the civilian authorities handle any given case. Extraordinary power given to the president.

Additionally, the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 (S. 2003) was introduced in the Senate on December 15, 2011. This legislation would clarify that the use of military force or a declaration of war does not authorize detention without charge or trial of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this important legislation.

The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. While I am not a member of this Committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers these important issues. Thank you again for contacting me.


*When the response of congressman Frelinghuysen arrives, if it does, I will post it too.