The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA 2012) bill has a controversial provision that has lighted the Internet abuzz with fears and concerns.
The bill affirms and codifies the U.S. President's authority to indefinitely detain in military custody anyone, including U.S. citizens, suspected of terrorism or supporting terrorists.
Proponents of the bill argue that it builds on efforts to uphold our values and honors our Constitution while protecting national security, in the words of Senators John McCain and Carl Levin.
The bill's provisions on detainees represent a careful, bipartisan effort to provide the executive branch the clear authority, tools and flexibility of action it needs to defend us against the threat posed by al-Qaeda, they wrote.
Furthermore, McCain and Levin emphasized that the bill does not expand, but merely codifies, the authority of the President to hold detainees in military custody.
Opponents of NDAA 2012, however, think the bill's provisions violate the civil liberties of U.S. citizens.
We are talking about people who are merely suspected of a crime, and we are talking about American citizens. If these provisions pass, we could see American citizens being sent to Guantánamo Bay, said Senator Rand Paul.
His father Congressman Ron Paul went as far as saying the bill is literally legalizing martial law.
This constant push that everything has to be militarized...and I don't think that creates a good country. Because we have values. And due process of law is one of those values. And so I object, I object to holding American citizens without trial. I do not believe that makes us more safe, said Senator Dianne Feinstein.