The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) is making its way through Congress and if it is in any way different from last year’s unconstitutional onslaught against the American public, it is only for the worse.
Last year, Congress overwhelmingly passed and Barack Hussein Obama signed into law the most egregious assault on due process rights in the nation’s history. The NDAA of 2012 gave Obama unlimited authority to have members of the U.S. military detain any American citizen he suspected of posing a potential threat to the United States. According to the Act, such citizens face an indefinite period of imprisonment with no right of habeas corpus, no right to trial, no right to present proof of innocence and no method of appeal.
In his signing statement, Obama made a point of offering false and cynical protestations against this indefinite detention language, claiming his administration “…[would] not authorize without trial the indefinite military detention of American citizens.” (1) Of course those concerns were no more than verbal crocodile tears as Senator Carl Levin later revealed it was Obama himself who demanded the detention powers be part of the Act. (2)
In mid-May, Obama issued an 8 page Statement of Administration Policy expressing his views on the existing, 2013 version of the NDAA. In it, Obama makes no mention whatever of the controversial revocation of due process section. In fact, the closest he comes to speaking of that particular threat to the American public is in a brief, final paragraph entitled “Constitutional Concerns.” And what are the President’s constitutional concerns? Why, Congressional “…encroachment on the President’s exclusive authorities related to international negotiations,” of course!
It seems Obama has decided that the only unacceptable, constitutional abuse of federal power contained in the Act involves an assault on HIS “exclusive authority.” And Obama repeats this concern throughout the Statement, chiding Congress for its obvious lack of respect for what he apparently believes an unlimited power to make treaties, “retire, dismantle or eliminate” the nation’s nuclear and conventional arsenals; indeed for “…the Executive branch’s ability to carry out its military, national security and foreign relations activities…” More than once the petulant President threatens a veto of the Act should Congress not come to its collective senses and allow him full exercise of the dictatorial authority which he apparently believes to have come with the job. (1)
Obama undoubtedly considers such a display of arrogance quite safe even in an election year as the majority of Republicans have shown themselves just as eager to pass this dictatorial authority on to the President in 2013 as they had been a year earlier. Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, GOP Congressman Buck McKeon has even written a new provision into the Act, claiming American citizens would have full availability of a writ of habeas corpus “…in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution for any person who is detained in the United States pursuant to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.” (3)
Unfortunately, just like the fraudulent assurances which were made part of the 2012 Act, McKeon’s language “…does nothing to prevent the indefinite detention of American under the 2013 NDAA” itself! Nor does it include any guarantee of habeas corpus rights before military courts or tribunals, the actual venue for federal actions against Obama’s detainees! In short, McKeon’s cynical efforts simply provide meaningless cover for Barack Obama’s future abuses of power, nothing more. (3)
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