Smith Seeks To Prevent Indefinite Detention, Strengthens Federal Courts
House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member, Congressman Adam Smith, will offer an amendment (text) to the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act designed to uphold our national values by promoting due process and bolstering civil protections while enhancing public safety and security.
“As we confront threats from violent extremist groups around the world, it is vitally important that the President has every tool and resource he needs to ensure our national security. In doing so, we must also ensure that we do not undermine the civil protections that we cherish so deeply in this country,” said Ranking Member Adam Smith. “Current law provides the President with the authority to indefinitely detain individuals apprehended in the United States – including citizens of the United States – without due process and with little independent review or oversight. While the President said that he will not utilize this authority, future administrations might and it is a frightening amount of power to leave on the books.”
The amendment would eliminate indefinite military detention of individuals detained in the United States, its territories, or possessions under the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF), by providing for immediate transfer to trial and proceedings by a court established under Article III of the U.S. Constitution or by an appropriate state court. The bill would also repeal the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that requires mandatory military custody of certain individuals captured pursuant to the AUMF.
“My amendment would leverage some of our strongest assets in trying suspected terrorists: Article III courts and domestic law enforcement. Federal courts have a proven track record of success: Over 400 defendants charged with crimes related to international terrorism have been successfully convicted in the United States since 9/11. We should build on this success, not undermine it.”