Five Republican lawmakers from Washington state have introduced legislation that condemns the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 for controversial measures regarding the detainment of terrorism suspects, according to the Tenth Amendment Center.
The $662 billion defense spending bill contained a controversial section that required terrorism suspects to be detained by the military without trial, regardless of where they were captured.
HB 2759, the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act, was introduced by Reps. Jason Overstreet, Matt Shea, Vincent Buys, Cary Condotta, and David Taylor. The bill condemns the NDAA for authorizing the United States to “indefinitely detain United States citizens and lawful resident aliens captured within the United States of America without charge until the end of hostilities.”
The Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act would also prohibit state and local employees, including members of the national guard, from cooperating “with an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien located within the United States of America by the armed forces of the United States of America.” Additionally, it would bar the U.S. military from conducting an investigation or detainment of a citizen within the state of Washington. But what effect these provision would have if enacted is unclear.
Despite language in the law that states it does not affect existing authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens or others captured within the U.S., human rights advocates have claimed that it still allows the government to detain Americans indefinitely without trial.
In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against current and former government officials for their alleged roles in the military detention and alleged torture of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen and convicted terrorist.
While signing the bill on December 31, Obama issued a statement in which he pledged that the new laws would not violate Americans’ constitutional rights. But human rights advocates said Obama’s signing statement did not prevent future administrations from abusing the law.
Eric W. Dolan
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