Washington Markup

ACLU Lens: Senate Takes Up New Detention Authorities Again Tonight – We Need Your Help!

By Amanda Simon at 11:21am

The Senate’s back in session today, ready to begin once again on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Perfectly timed for the Senate’s return, the San Jose Mercury News ran an incredibly compelling op-ed today by Floyd Mori, the head of the Japanese American Citizens League on the bill’s detention provisions.

As Mori eloquently states:

Although the details of the indefinite detentions of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the proposed indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects may differ, the principle remains the same: Indefinite detentions based on fear-driven and unlawfully substantiated national security grounds, where individuals are neither duly charged nor fairly tried, violate the essence of U.S. law and the most fundamental values upon which this country was built.

These provisions have proven to be a huge sticking point, with the White House firmly against their passage. The Obama administration has issued a veto threat for the bill based on its opposition to the provisions and, last week, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, wrote to Sen. Dianne Feinstein outlining his concerns.

The Senate will be debating the NDAA this week and will begin voting on amendments as early as tonight. One amendment we’ll be watching for this week was offered by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.). The Udall amendment would strip the detention provisions and mandates a process for Congress to use an orderly process to consider whether any detention legislation is needed. It’s not too late to call your senator and urge them to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

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