NDAA signing statement: “Does not apply to US citizens.”

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The National Defense Authorization Act probably did not authorize US police or military organizations or individuals to detain US citizens without cause or due process. The bill was written in such a way that existing statute in this regard would not be affected. But just to make sure, President Obama added a signing statement stating that the new bill would not be used that way.

Here is the signing statement.

The relevant paragraph states:

The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.

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12 thoughts on “NDAA signing statement: “Does not apply to US citizens.”

  1. So, what specific, existing problems is the NDAA going to fix, then? Or is it just “to be on the safe side”, because you can’t have too many or too powerful laws, (extreme) right?

    1. Castrate the Constitution.
    2. Create laws that make everyone a criminal.
    3. Take privileges away from the criminals, like gun ownership and voting rights.
    4. New World Order!

    You guys are screwed.

  2. Japanese who were U.S. citizens were deprived of property and thrown into camps on the suspicion that they were all in league with Imperial Japan. Funny, I’m pretty sure the 4th and 5th Amendments were around back then … you know, due process and all that …

    The Bush Administration stated that surveillance was not being conducted against U.S. Citizens, yet it was … and they were simply keeping mum about it.

    So I’m not inclined to take a promise or signing statement that this won’t happen to U.S. citizens when the mechanism for it to happen AT ALL is still around.

  3. Are signing statements even binding?

    I wish Obama (or any president for that matter) would get the balls to start using the Veto when there’s a disagreement.

  4. And President Gingrich (or Perry, or Bachmann, or whomever) will be sure to abide by the intent of that signing statement, right? Didn’t think so.

  5. Obama is morally inept at times.
    The only reason he gets ways with it is that the republicans are falling all over themselves making him look better than they are.

  6. sqlrob/Trebuchet: No, signing statements are not legally binding, only comments by the signer. Yes, a future administration could decide to go another route (if the NDAA even allows what everyone fears).

    Ing: Obama threatened to veto the bill, but backed off when he got the benefits extension he wanted in December. More election year politics.

    The signed version of the bill was changed from an earlier version that contained language appearing to allow detention of US citizens under counterterrorism rules of war. The signed version is still a bit ambiguous about this, but not as bad as the earlier version.

    I can understand the need to balance individual rights with protection of the US as a whole, but in my opinion this bill just continues the erosion of freedoms started during the Bush era.

  7. So, the rest of us who aren’t UnitedStatesian citizens can now officially be made to “disappear” willy-nilly, at the whim of some slack-jawed yokel with a badge. Good to know. Now there’s even less chance that I’ll travel down to North America’s basement for either fun or profit.

  8. Most rights in the Constitution aren’t limited to U.S. citizens, but extend to all “persons”. That specifically includes the 4th and 5th amendments, the ones the provisions of this bill violate.

  9. Well I DO believe in universal, single payer, health care. And rational taxation policies.

    I guess I AM a threat! 😀

  10. ChrisG, there’s an important supreme court decision, the name of which I cannot currently recall, that grants to all persons legally within the United States the full protections of the bill of rights. At least insofar as those rights are protected at all.

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