Tonight, the U.S. Senate approved the $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act bill, sending it on to the White House for President Barack Obama‘s signature.
Just yesterday, the White House lifted a veto threat against the bill after lawmakers made substantial changes in language involving detainees.
Legislators added language making it clear that nothing in the bill requiring military custody of Al Qaeda suspects would interfere with the ability of civilian law enforcement to carry out their own terrorism investigations in the U.S.
A statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the revisions meant that Obama’s top advisers would no longer recommend a veto of the bill.
Last night, the House approved the NDAA, and today’s 86-13 vote in the Senate completed the necessary congressional action to send the bill to the Oval Office.
The sticking point was the president’s authority in deciding whether or not suspects held in terrorism investigations would be held in military or civilian custody.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the legislation includes a “national security waiver” that will permit the president to transfer a suspect from military to civilian custody if he so chooses.
As we’ve said here before, this bill is the end of America as we know it. The government will have the ability to detail U.S. citizens indefinitely and without trial.
It is “astonishing and disappointing” that the bill’s language has been approved by Congress and President Obama, said Jameel Jaffer of the National Security division of the American Civil Liberties Union in an interview with Rachel Maddow in her MSNBC show Wedneday, Suspicion Accomplished.
In a nutshell, NDAA FY2012 directly threatens the safety of whistleblowers and independent reporters.
For a full review of why this bill is bad for America, see our previous coverage here.