January 3rd, 2012 | By admin
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, is a law in the United States that was signed by President Barack Obama on December 31, 2011. The President issued a “signing statement” in conjunction with signing the bill into law. The NDAA is a lengthy act, its hundreds of pages covering numerous topics. The provisions which have received the most attention and generated the most controversy are contained in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism.” In particular, sub-sections 1021 and 1022 which deal with detention of persons the government suspects of involvement in terrorism, have generated controversy as to their legal meaning and their potential implications for abuse of Presidential authority. Although the White House and Senate sponsors have maintained that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) already grants presidential authority for indefinite detention, the Act states that Congress “affirms” this authority and makes specific provisions as to the exercise of that authority. The detention provisions of the Act have received critical attention by, among others, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and media sources which raise concerns about the scope of the President’s authority, including contentions that those who may be held indefinitely could include U.S. citizens arrested on American soil, including arrests by members of the Armed Forces.