Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois appeared Tuesday on Fox News to discuss a controversial provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) regarding the rules on detention of terrorism suspects.
The provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain individuals anywhere in the world without charge or trial if the president labels them a terrorist. The American Civil Liberties Union described the provision as “a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown.”
“I’m very concerned about this language, because it expands the authority of the president to arrest anyone — including U.S. citizens on U.S. soil — if the president alleges they committed an act of terrorism, or are part of al Qaeda or the Taliban,” Kirk said.
“The critical thing is Americans would not have to be presented to a civilian court,” he continued. “All the decisions on their detention would be made by the U.S. military and the president. Our rights are inalienable, I don’t think Congress has this power.”
“Here in the United States, especially if you’re an United States citizen, you have rights that are protected by the Constitution. And no Congress and no president can take it away. I’m very concerned that under this process, you can be detained by the U.S. military only on the accusation from the president, and no civilian court would have jurisdiction,” Kirk said.
An amendment to the bill that would have replaced the provision was shot down later Tuesday, by a vote of 37 to 61.
Sixteen Democrats voted against the proposed amendment. Kirk and Rand Paul were the only Republican senators to vote for it.
The bill was drafted by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) during a closed-door committee meeting, without a single hearing.
The Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have all sent letters to Congress opposing the indefinite detention provision. The White House has threatened to veto the bill because of it.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: