Feinstein-Lee amendment amends the NDAA but excludes the NDAA from the Feinstein-Lee amendment
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 was passed by the House on 14 December last year, and the Senate one day later – and signed into law on New Year’s Eve by Obama.
It contains much that worries many. In particular, Section 1021 effectively allows the use of military force to detain suspects – including US citizens – indefinitely without trial. The scope for misuse by the authorities is astounding, and it flies in the face of the spirit and probably the letter of the US constitution. It defies the very principles that underpin the founding of the United States.
Needless to say it has upset many Americans. An amendment to the NDAA, sponsored by 18 senators led by Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was tabled in an attempt to limit the indefinite detention that Congress has already made law. It’s the Feinstein-Lee amendment. Feinstein said
The beauty of our Constitution is that it gives everyone in the United States basic due process rights to a trial by a jury of their peers.
Senator Feinstein and I have worked closely together over the course of the past year to craft what we believe represents a very prudent course in protecting both our nation and our liberties at the same time… The Feinstein-Lee amendment does precisely that.
Last Thursday the Senate accepted this amendment to the act passed by Congress by 67 votes to 29. The heart of the amendment is this:
An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States…
Job done. Liberty preserved. Well done Feinstein, Lee and the US Senate – until you read the rest of the sentence amending an act passed by Congress:
unless an act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.
Bit of an oozlum argument really.
Of course, the CIA has always been able to come after me simply because I am not an American citizen and do not live in America (in fact I have never been to America). But I’m not worried – my lawn isn’t big enough for a helicopter to land.