The White House threatened Tuesday to veto the National Defense Authorization Act because of controversial provisions, such as section 1034, which would authorize the United States to use military force anywhere there are terrorism suspects, including within the U.S. itself.
“The Administration strongly objects to section 1034 which, in purporting to affirm the conflict, would effectively recharacterize its scope and would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards,” the White House said in a statement [PDF] to Congress. “At a minimum, this is an issue that merits more extensive consideration before possible inclusion.”
The American Civil Liberties Union described the provision as the “single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history.”
“President Obama has not sought new war authority,” the ACLU said. “In fact, his administration has made clear that it believes it already has all of the authority that it needs to fight terrorism.”
“But Congress is considering monumental new legislation that would grant the president – and all presidents after him – sweeping new power to make war almost anywhere and everywhere.”
The statement warned that the White House would veto the bill if it contained provisions that would prevent the administration from prosecuting or transferring Guantánamo detainees.
The White House also objected to provisions in the bill that attempt to prevent or delay the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
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