Thank you for writing to me about provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) concerning the military detention of enemy combatants. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
I was deeply disappointed that the final version of the NDAA did not include important language authored by Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) regarding detainees that would have protected civil liberties while helping to keep us safe. During floor consideration of the NDAA, I voted for an amendment offered by Senator Udall that would have replaced the detainee provisions in the bill with a requirement for the Administration to report to Congress on detention authorities. Unfortunately, this amendment failed by a vote of 38-60.
I also voted for an amendment offered by Senator Feinstein that would have clarified that mandatory military detention would apply only to terrorist suspects captured outside the United States. This amendment also failed by a vote of 45-55.
I have now agreed to be a co-sponsor of S.2003, the Due Process Guarantee Act. This important bipartisan legislation would protect American citizens arrested within the United States from being held indefinitely by the U.S. military.
I strongly oppose any expansion of military detention authority that erodes our civil liberties. However, I voted for the National Defense Authorization Act because it includes a number of provisions for our troops and their families, including a pay raise requested by President Obama and important health care benefits.
Again, thank you for writing. Please feel free to contact me again about this or other issues of concern to you.
Barbara Boxer United States SenatorI really do appreciate Senator Boxer's attempt at correcting this assault on our civil liberties, yet I am still disappointed she approved it by voting Yes. It is obvious our military needs services and pay. However, by allowing these provisions to pass in the Senate and the House, she effectively undermines everything they have fought and continue to fight for. It is the same as offering a soldier gold to take down the banner they revere and carry into battle. In a way HR 1540 is an indirect form of dirty money. Boxer may be on track for correcting the issue, but it is unconciousable to vote Yes on something so wrong and unconstitutional with only the hope of correcting it later. As everyone knows, once one gives up even a little bit of liberty, it is near impossible to get it back. Senators in minority have a duty to stand ground by refusing any bill that degrades our individual civil rights. In this case the troops will have to wait on some services and opponents can lambast the minority with emotional arguments about not helping soldiers. But, at least a dissenting Senator can hold those nasty parts of the bill high and point the blame right back. In short, this is the difference between a Statesman and a Senator. Who will protect what makes America America if our leaders won't? Who got us into this mess? Ask Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon (CA - R) and Adam Smith (WA - D). read the original message to Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, and Rep. Pelosi.