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Conference Report on H.R. 1540, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Rule and the underlying bill.

The bill we have before us allows for the indefinite detention of terror suspects, including U.S. citizens, without being charged and without the right to a trial. If enacted, this would be the first time since the McCarthy era that Congress has authorized the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens without this fundamental right.

The bill's detainee provisions undermine our national security and violate the Constitutional principles we all adhere to. If we are truly considering the Nation's best interests--we should strip this bill of these harmful provisions.

The federal criminal justice system has worked effectively to prosecute suspected terrorists throughout both the Bush and Obama administrations. This system has proven invaluable in producing counterterrorism information precisely because it provides incentives for suspects to cooperate.

Further, the detainee provisions in this bill do not provide the president with the flexibility that is needed to successfully combat terrorism.

Many of our Nation's most respected military leaders and national security leadership have come out against the detention provisions in this bill. In the past weeks, the director of the FBI, director of National Intelligence, Secretary of Defense, and head of the National Security Division at the Department of Justice have all spoken out against these detainee provisions.

Instead of protecting our Nation, these detainee provisions will ultimately make our Nation less safe at a time when we need every counterterrorism tool available to defend our Nation from terrorist threats.

We will not defend our country by shredding the Constitution or denying U.S. citizens of their most fundamental rights. We can defend our country while securing the basic freedoms that make America unique among the community of nations.

I urge Members to respect our fundamental constitutional rights and protect our country's security by opposing this bill.


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