Our fundamental civil liberties just took a big hit in Congress.
Senator Dianne Feinstein had made a valiant effort to amend the renewal of the National Defense Authorization Act so it would explicitly prohibit the Pentagon from grabbing U.S. citizens and holding them indefinitely.
Her amendment had passed the Senate by a big margin, but the House version had no such amendment. Then Congressional negotiators, in their conference bill, dropped Feinstein’s amendment and replaced it with mealy-mouthed rhetoric that does nothing to keep us safe from a renegade President or Secretary of Defense.
Dianne Feinstein should be commended for trying to rectify this awful provision. But where was Harry Reid when we needed him? And who among the Senate Democrats agreed to toss Feinstein overboard and to drown our most basic civil liberty?
So now the immense danger that was engraved in the previous National Defense Authorization Act remains.
As unbelievable as it should sound to you, the President and the Defense Secretary still and now have the authority to pick up any U.S. citizen, even here in the United States, and hold them indefinitely without trial—even in a military prison.
This is how far we’ve slid since 9/11. The bottom of the hill can’t be far away now.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Obama Hits Right Notes in Response to Conn. Horror."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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