Udall Commends President’s Waivers on Mandatory Military Detention Provision
Udall: The Fight is Not Over; Will Keep Working to Change Detention Provisions, Protect U.S. Citizens
Today, Mark Udall applauded President Obama’s announcement that the administration will not detain American citizens in military custody and may issue national security waivers to the detention provisions passed in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The provisions mandate military custody for certain terrorism suspects and would constrain our military, law enforcement and intelligence officials in their efforts to effectively combat terrorism. In addition to limiting the tools available to the national security community, the provisions could also result in the indefinite detention without trial of some suspects – including U.S. citizens. Udall has fought against the provisions since they were introduced in the Senate Armed Services Committee last year and tacked on to the NDAA. He released the following statement:
“I had grave concerns about how these provisions would be implemented, and I hope the president’s policy will help safeguard constitutional protections while preserving the flexibility of our military, law enforcement and intelligence officials. I commend President Obama for listening to the many Coloradans and Americans who spoke up against the military detention provisions that passed last year. These provisions were included as part of the must-pass defense bill, and all of our collective work to shine a light on the harm they would do has empowered the administration to make this important decision.
“I am also pleased that the Obama administration has stated it will not hold American citizens or lawful permanent residents in military custody. We cannot let rigid procedures interrupt or threaten our ability to investigate, identify, locate and capture terrorists that seek to do us harm.
“While the president’s announcement is an important step, the fight against the detention provisions, especially as they relate to military actions in the United States and involve U.S. citizens, is not over. This is only one administration’s interpretation of enduring law. I worry about how the next administration may choose to view these provisions, and I will continue with my colleagues to craft legislation that protects citizens and our constitutional freedoms.”
A member of both the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, Udall opposed the detention provisions from the beginning. He was the only one to vote against the provisions in committee, and subsequently called repeatedly for debate on the issue and time to consider its ramifications for law enforcement and military officials, and the American people. After the authorization bill containing the provisions passed the Senate, he worked on the conference committee to make significant changes to the provisions . Udall also joined with Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and a bipartisan group to introduce the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 , to clarify that American citizens cannot be indefinitely detained by the military. He will continue to push for passage of this bill.