The Trouble With The Latest National Defense Authorization Act

Friday, January 06, 2012


When the President signed this year's far ranging National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the portion that caught the attention of civil libertarians was a provision that appears to allow the President to indefinitely detain American citizens. Bob speaks with constitutional law expert Geoffrey Stone, who says the primary problem with the NDAA is that it doesn't clarify much of anything concerning detention. 

Comments [7]

greg slater from east palo alto, ca

Bob Garfield sarcastically dismisses a ny times editorial that opposes the ndaa, but fails to give us a hint as to date or author. That's just freaking sloppy at best - more accurately unprofessional. Would it kill you to actually give your references explicitly, so we can decide for ourselves if we find it wholly without merit? Better yet, ask the author on as a counterpoint to the chicago dude guest who is also unabashedly flippant about the erosion of civil liberties.

sheesh.... Brooke! Little editorial help here please!

Jan. 10 2012 03:23 AM
Francisco from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Tony Lima,

From what I remember of the Bush era (and some of the the things that Obama has done) it looks to me like both sides want to attack rights and liberties in the name of "security". The only difference I see is one of style. From what I've seen it looks as though: The Republicans are unapologetic about what they do in that area and the Democrats are embarrassed about doing it but still do it.

Jan. 09 2012 04:41 PM
Tony Lima from Silicon Valley, CA

First it was the murder of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki based on nothing more than President Obama's statement that he was a terrorist ( Then it was the clearly unconstitutional "recess" appointments when the Senate was not in recess ( Now we have this latest outrage. And Prof. Stone has the gall to call Republicans "neanderthals" while praising Democrats as "civil libertarians." I'm pretty sure he got that backwards.

Jan. 08 2012 06:54 PM
teddy from California

Another thing that bothers me about the passage of this bill, that is a media concern, is the timing and media coverage of the event. The signing was done on the very last day of the year on a holiday weekend, and the media coverage showed up on New Year's Day! Both are times, I'd guess, of very few viewers and very few readers.

Jan. 08 2012 06:52 PM
Kevin McKague from Davison, Michigan

How is this a media story? It's an interesting interview, but better suited for ATC.

Jan. 08 2012 12:52 PM

The provisions in the NDAA are NOT "nothing." This report and your commentaries are trying to lull us to sleep and pretend that the provisions of this LAW don't mean anything. They do mean something.

Read Glenn Greenwald. Read Jonathan Turley. Reread the NY Times editorial, not known as a fire-breathing source of opinion. The Democrats are "civil libertarians"? Please. Carl Levin drew up these particular provisions in the NDAA. Barama believes in indefinite detention. He asserted it as policy in his executive order earlier this year. Only now it's been codified into US law. Why don't we think that this makes a difference?

Obama has done one thing that is an improvement over Bush--he said we aren't going to torture any more. Whew, watta relief. What have we come to when that's an improvement? In every other way, he is worse than Bush--in prosecuting official secrets, in appealing every reasonable court decision that widens the rights of detainees, ini murdering American citizens abroad without capturing them for a trial, in deciding that no one would be held accountable for violations of wiretapping or detention policies.

The "signing statement" is worthless. We are now a country where the military can roam the streets, pick you up, and detain you indefinitely without trial. OTM had a chance to highlight that. You failed.

Jan. 08 2012 11:13 AM

So our constitutional scholar President issues "gibberish" and a legal "charade" while regularly flirting with a constitutional crisis as recently as a few days ago based not on national security but his own personal political agenda in a campaign year. Is this what the nation bargained for three years ago?

In a languid response to these possible abuses of power the media and academia shrug their collective shoulders or offer nothing in protest but a plaintive whine as they sit firmly on their left thumb.

The jaw dropping irony is that fellow citizens in the last administration who tried following legal precedent subject to ongoing legal review and opinion to protect a free society from barbaric men who really do live in caves are the ones who the intellects amongst us call "neanderthals".
At least "neanderthals" had a spine unlike the invertebrate and tepid reaction to the latest undermining of the US Constitution by this administration concerning domestic policy.

Jan. 07 2012 12:32 PM

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