The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the yearly bill to provide funding for the military and defense related items. The 2012 version of this legislation was controversial due to provisions dealing with arrest and detention of terrorists and those affiliated with al-Qaeda.
The legislation affirms that the President has the authority to detain enemy combatants captured on the battlefield under the 2001 authorization for the use of force against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It then defines those who can be detained as "covered persons" and establishes this group as anyone affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. The legislation also states that those people can be held until the end of hostilities, until a tribunal with proper authority is established, or until those people are transferred to the proper authority.
Prior to this legislation, a US citizen accused of being allied with al Qaeda or plotting terrorist activity was considered to have committed a crime. Being accused of a crime, these people had civil rights relating to access to a lawyer and the right to remain silent. Floor statements made by Senators indicate that the legislation is intended to change this so that anyone accused of terrorist activity has not committed a crime, but has committed an act of war. In doing this, they do not have the right to remain silent or access a lawyer. In this manner, they can be held indefinitely without the right end this questioning.
This change in classification is accomplished by classifying the US as a battlefield in the war on terror. The legislation uses the phrase "affirms" when discussing the executive power because the power of the President to arrest and detain enemy combatants on a battlefield is already established. In the case of Jose Padilla and in previous cases during WWII, it was shown that the President can indeed arrest and detain US citizens captured on US soil aiding the enemy in a time of war. However, in the Padilla case, the courts held that since the US is not a battlefield in the war on terror, Padilla must be granted habaes corpus rights and tried as a criminal in the civilian courts. Eventually, Padilla was sentenced to 17 years for his actions.
One section of the legislation states that nothing in the bill is intended to change existing laws with respect to the arrest and detention of US citizens. This has led to a belief that the bill states that it does not apply to US citizens. This is not the case. That section states that current law is not changed by the legislation, but current law already holds that the President already has the power to arrest and indefinitely detain unlawful enemy combatants captured on the battlefield. This legislation merely adds the US homeland as a battlefield and affirms the Presidents authority under that law. Therefore the effect of the law on US citizens is changed without changing the law itself.
Basically the bill is for paying the U.S. military salaries and benefits however the most recent form of the bill that was passed included what is described above. U.S. citizens can be detained indefinitely without proof if they're simply accused of "terrorist activities" which are not defined. This is not being reported by CNN, MSNBC, Fox News etc. It's really quite unbelievable. Have any of you read about this or know more information about it and could possibly shed more light on it. On top of this Obama claimed to be in staunch opposition to the bill due to this provision but changed his mind at the 11th hour and signed it on New Years Eve without anyone really paying attention to it. What is going on here? This isn't meant as an Obama vs. Romney or anything of that sort thread. It's more to bring to light this is happening and nothing is being reported about it.