U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today voted in support of the conference report for H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12). This annual legislation passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 86-13 and further clarifies current law regarding the U.S. military's authority to capture and detain terrorists.
"Following the devastating attacks on our nation over 10 years ago, our military and justice systems have worked to ensure that terrorists were prevented from harming our nation and its people while being brought to justice," said Inhofe. "Most recently, there has been controversy over provisions in this bill in regards to detainees. There is simply no provision included in this bill that would allow U.S. citizens to be arrested by the military in the United States. As a leading voice in the Senate, I played an instrumental role in getting legislative language included in the bill that further clarifies that this language does not change any current laws towards U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. The amendment states that "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens of the U.S. or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.' This bill passed the Senate 99 to 1. The inclusion of this language ensures the continued success of our nation's judiciary and military sectors against terrorists while not infringing the rights of Americans.
Inhofe continued, "Additionally, Section 1021 increases the protection given to U.S. Citizens by ensuring that the requirement for military detention does not extend to U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens. With these provisions, our military forces are armed with what they need to continue to prosecute the war on against Al Qaeda and its affiliates while also protecting citizen rights.
"During conference, Congress also clarified language that will ensure Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and law enforcement authorities are not affected by this bill. The amendment states that "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the existing criminal enforcement and national security authorities of the FBI or any other domestic law with regard to a covered person, regardless whether such covered person is held in military custody.'"
With the Senate and House passage of H.R. 1540, it now goes to the White House for President Obama to sign the legislation into law.