President Barack Obama on Saturday reluctantly signed a defense authorization bill, saying he was concerned about some in Congress who want to restrict options used by counterterrorism officials.Hm. He said "my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens." He did not say his administration could not do this--merely that they would not.
"I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists," he said of the $662 billion legislation.
The White House had lifted a veto threat against the bill after legislators made changes in language involving detainees.
In particular, the legislators added language to make 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 terrorism investigations and interrogations in the United States...
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the legislation includes a "national security waiver" that allows the president to transfer a suspect from military to civilian custody if he chooses.
"I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama said in a statement Saturday. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."
Obama said a section of the bill provides the "executive branch" with broad authority on military custody for non-citizen detainees...