Starting TODAY, the U.S. Senate will begin voting on amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a crucial piece of legislation that gives our men and women in uniform the tools they need to protect Americans here and abroad.
But there’s a problem. Within this year’s NDAA bill are problematic new provisions that could allow the U.S. military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens, even here on U.S. soil.
In our rush to reauthorize important defense provisions, I believe we are threatening to undercut the very principles provided to every American under the Constitution. That’s why I’m leading the effort to amend the NDAA to remove these dangerous provisions that could harm our national security. My amendment would ensure that we don’t rush into adopting new laws that could reduce our ability to effectively combat terrorism or threaten the constitutional liberties that we hold dear.
I believe we must provide our government with the tools and flexibility it needs to keep Americans safe, but I also know there’s a way to do it that doesn’t threaten the freedoms of law-abiding citizens.
These new regulations would make the U.S. military the judge, jury, and jailer of terrorism suspects and could prevent the FBI and state and local law enforcement from participating in the investigation. President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and many civil liberties groups and national security experts oppose this unwise course of action.
Even worse, advocates for these days-old provisions are rushing them through the Senate without even holding a hearing or getting valuable input from the Department of Defense. We’ve seen before what happens if we rush too quickly to change our laws in the name of protecting national security. We cannot afford to make such problematic policy changes without fully understanding what the consequences would be to the American people and to protecting our national security.
-from Mark Udall (D) Colorado