A pair of lawmakers on Thursday offered a bill that would repeal laws that allow the indefinite detention of Americans and others by the military without trial.H/t to Pamela Eakes for this video (07:50):
The power of military authorities to arrest and jail people as long as they want stems from Congress' 2001 joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists, but was explicitly codified into law last year after President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act on New Year's Eve. While allowing military detention of anyone, the act mandated that certain terrorist suspects had to be held by the armed forces.
Civil libertarians on the left and right were sharply critical of the law, even though the president promised not to grab Americans.
Obama set out policy rules last month making good on that pledge, specifying that U.S. citizens and numerous other categories of suspected terrorists would not be clapped into the military system, which somewhat mollified critics.
But many pointed out that those rules are only good as long as Obama is president, prompting Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) to offer their bill Thursday. MORE...
"The Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), and Senator Mark Udall (CO), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, unveiled legislation at a press conference to ensure that any individual detained on U.S. soil under the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) has access to due process and the federal court system."