Secretive Conference Committee Fights Back Attempt to Prohibit Indefinite Military Detention of US Citizens

In late November, during a closely watched public debate, the Senate voted by a wide, bi-partisan margin to ban indefinite detention of American citizens. But now that the legislative process has moved behind closed doors, it’s a completely different story.

The vote in November took place on an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA] to the 2013 National Defense Authorization bill (2013 NDAA). It was designed to overturn Sec. 1021 of last year’s Defense bill, which provided congressional support and formal codification for the military’s presumed authority to detain American citizens who they suspect of being terrorists without charge or trial.

“An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States,” the amendment stated.

However, according to multiple reports, the amendment has now been stripped from the bill. On Tuesday, the House-Senate conference committee that was tasked with reconciling the differing Senate and House versions of the Defense bill, voted to replace the amendment with new language that effectively keeps the indefinite detention law intact.

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