Have you heard about the National Defense Authorization Act? No? Well, simply put, it’s one of the stupidest, most egregious crapping-on-the-Constitution laws to ever pass a vote in the U.S. Senate, and it did so a few days ago almost unanimously and virtually unnoticed. As Wired points out, the bill essentially gives the U.S. military the right to lock up any American citizen it suspects may hold even the slightest possibility of being a terrorist for an indefinite period of time without benefit of a trial. In other words, this thing could not be more diametrically opposed to everything America stands for — all in the name of protecting citizens from terrorism. At the risk of sounding alarmist, it’s the type of law totalitarian regimes institute in their infancy stages to lay the foundation for building totalitarian regimes. (It’s also interesting to note that the two most vocal opponents of this garbage bill in the Senate were Al Franken and Rand Paul, two men who could not be more ideologically different.)
Writes Wired’s Spencer Ackerman:
So despite the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to trial, the Senate bill would let the government lock up any citizen it swears is a terrorist, without the burden of proving its case to an independent judge, and for the lifespan of an amorphous war that conceivably will never end. And because the Senate is using the bill that authorizes funding for the military as its vehicle for this dramatic constitutional claim, it’s pretty likely to pass.
It would be one thing if the military was clamoring for the authority to become the nation’s jailer. But to the contrary: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opposes the maneuver. So does CIA Director David Petraeus, who usually commands deference from senators in both parties. Pretty much every security official has lined up against the Senate detention provisions, from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to FBI Director Robert Mueller, who worry that they’ll get in the way of FBI investigations of domestic terrorists. President Obama has promised to veto the bill.
Naturally, the government’s definition of what qualifies one as being a possible terrorist is quite vague, so vague, in fact, that a certain Kenyan/American with a past of palling around with radicals would likely qualify to be detained under the new proposed law, as the Daily Show brilliantly pointed out last night in the two videos below.