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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. AMASH. In 2011, Congress enacted a provision of the NDAA that authorizes the indefinite detention of Americans caught on U.S. soil. That provision, which is permanent law and continues to apply to this day, authorizes the President to detain persons who ``substantially supported'' forces ``associated'' with terrorists.

It is important to note that ``substantial support'' and being ``associated'' with terrorists were not defined in 2011 and still have not been defined by Congress. There is a good argument that this provision is unconstitutionally vague. In fact, a Federal court has already ruled that the provision is unconstitutional because it chills First Amendment association and free speech.

Our Constitution does not permit the Federal Government to detain anyone in the United States indefinitely without charge or trial. I strongly believe in protecting the country's security and in equipping our Armed Forces with the tools they need to defeat our enemies, but the American people cannot support measures that, in the name of security, violate our constitutionally protected rights.

The Constitution entitles all people to be charged with a crime and to be given a trial when the government detains them in the United States. Join me in affirming this right by voting for Smith-Gibson, which is the only amendment that protects the rights of those of you watching at home.

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