Obama Will Issue Signing Statement With NDAA Detention Rules

by on December 22, 2011 · 22 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular

By Ryan J. Reilly /TPM / December 21, 2011, 4:02 PM

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed speculation Wednesday that President Barack Obama would issue a signing statement when he makes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its controversial detention provisions law.

 “We made really substantial progress in moving from something that was really unacceptable to the administration to something with which we still have problems,” Holder said in response to a question from the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez. “But I think through these procedures, with these regulations we will be crafting, we can minimize the problems that will actually affect us in an operational way.”

 Holder said the language of the NDAA had been moved in a “substantial way” from some of the original language which led the president to issue a veto threat.

 “So we are in a better place, I think the regulations, procedures that will help, and we’ll also have a signing statement from the president” which will help clarify how they view the law, Holder said.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Grimm Reaper December 22, 2011 at 7:54 pm

“We can minimize the problems of…” … rolling back the doctrine of habeas corpus to the 12th century? Wake up, folks, this is a terrible threat to our civil rights.


avatar Sarah December 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm

“which will help clarify how they view the law, Holder said.” LMAO! This is the problem in a nutshell! This is exactly what I’ve been warning people about. You can’t trust a law that allows the government to view it and interpret it any way they want/


avatar Tom December 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

Excellent point. I agree that laws should be clear, their implementation should respect that clearly expressed original intention, and this must be consistent with the rights defined in the Constitution.

One huge problem is that there is a school of thought that holds that even the Constitution is a “living document” — meaning that government and its judges should be free to interpret it in whatever way they currently find appropriate, regardless of whether this respects the original intent. This is the core belief that justifies activist judges using the Constitution flexibly in ways that don’t require precedent.

As long as that is allowed, even clearly specified laws are no obstacle to abuse.


avatar Johnny Coleman December 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm

After much reading and thought I have to ask, why did Congress feel compelled to attack the US Constitution as part of the NDAA?

Johnny Coleman


avatar Rob Carroll December 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Sorry to tell you this, but it’s a replay of events in the 1940’s.
Hitler burnt the Reichstag so that he could initiate certain bills/laws so he could effectively take away rights, and imprison an entire nation. Similar to events such as the 9/11 “terrorist attacks”. Which all in all gave them a reason to give to the public for going across seas, and raping the lands for natural resources, to fund the building and procedures leading up to Concentration Camps. They are also building bases so they can launch more ‘attacks’ on Venezuela in the near future.

The only reason you would ever amend the Constitution this day in age, would be to seize control over the slaves they have worked for hundreds of years to breed. We sat back, and got played, poisoned by mercury, and preservatives in “vaccines”. They brainwashed us with material objects, BUSH EVEN TOLD US WE SHOULD SUPPORT THE BUY/TRASH ECONOMY BY SPENDING ON THINGS WE DON’T NEED. Tell me we’re not blind, and I will tell you the American citizens did just that. It’s not a conspiracy theory… It would be with out proof, but luckily you have time to familiarize yourself with the NDAA, and SOPA bills. SOPA was meant to be passed before the NDAA bill, so that we would be blinded by the mainstream media, getting no absolute truth from the independent media.


avatar Stephen Voss December 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm

The current NDAA contains, in section 1021, legislation that drastically expands the government’s detention authority. I suspect that we may be viewing the end of the dream of 1776.

I say this for two reasons.

(1) The NDAA opens the door to indefinite detention of just about anyone the President – this President but of course any future President – personally thinks he has reason to detain.

(2) This authority goes beyond anything that current law now gives him.

Advocates of the NDAA say that President Obama already claims the authority to detain exactly the people the NDAA allows the President to detain.

It’s true that Obama has claimed the authority to detain just about anyone he wishes. That’s bad enough. But it’s one thing to claim you have that authority. It’s another thing for the law to give you that authority.

The law Obama uses to support his claim is the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Here is the totality of what the AUMF says.

“The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The AUMF targets two kinds of people – those who helped with the 9/11 attacks and those who harbored people who did. The NDAA targets the same people and then adds an entirely new category: people who have “substantially supported” forces “associated” with al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Two points. (1) Many legal authorities think those two quoted terms are so vague that a court could let the law apply to you or me. If a future President seized the opportunity, how sure are you that the courts would take your side and not his? (2) Be that as it may, there’s no question that the NDAA places an entirely new category of people in legal jeopardy.

The NDAA says more than the AUMF says. In a perfectly clear way, NDAA expands the government’s detention authority.

We learn now that Obama will make a signing statement when he signs this horrific bill. Again, two points. (1) What worries Obama is that this bill limits his freedom, not ours! (2) Signing statements have no legal force whatever.

For the very first time, this bill gives any future President legal cover to jail any citizen he wishes, for as long as there’s a war on terror, and gives the citizen no chance to defend himself.

That’s why I think the 1776 dream is finished.


avatar Glenn Stephens December 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Let me get this straight.

Our Founders saw our rights as God given, natural rights that predate and transcend the creation of civil society (political systems). So until NDAA I had certain of those rights.

Now, I no longer have those rights. But now I get a promise from Eric Holder that the administration will miminize problems in an operational way?

Basically, we can no longer count on the Constitutional protections what the NDAA took away, but we should feel reassured that the Obama administration claims it will minimize the issues operationally? In other words, a few dozen Americans might get detained for a few years, but eventually they’d get out?

Oh and last time I checked Obama had violated nearly every campaign promise. But I should believe he will stick to this vaguely worded and insubstantial promise?


avatar omen December 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

did media and government apparatchiks in nazi germany similarly issue soothing noises meant to placate the populace whilst rounding up jews?


avatar John Harby December 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

Not sure what this means or how it will play out. We have to see what the signing statement contains. If it is strong enough in objecting to the areas of the NDAA that are of concern then it may offer leverage when arguing that these portions of the NDAA are unconstitutional with the Supreme Court. That’s basically the next step. We’ll just have to see.


avatar doug porter December 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

Any signing statement can be changed by the next president…. or this one, if he changes his mind.


avatar Glenn Stephens December 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

Steve makes a very important point that I have made elsewhere albeit with much more detail. This bill does somethings that haven’t been done before.

Defenders of the NDAA claim it doesn’t do anything new and is consistent with existing law. If that were true, then why draft it? If all those powers already exist by statute or decisional law or regulation, then why push for the Bill?


avatar dorndiego December 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

The present language of NDAA, takes away, then gives back… then takes away and takes away and takes away freedom from unconstitutional seizure without charge and termination. When a government threatens us with arrest for no reason and then tells us we’re safe from the provisions that clearly authorize those arrests, that government is a threat to us.


avatar malcolm December 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm

NDAA is a horrible travesty, and I agree it signals the end of “liberty and justice for all”.

If you don’t think “it can happen here”, I suggest reading ZEITOUN, the book cited by Colorado Senator Unruh in his arguments against the worst parts of NDAA. Additionally, and much quicker but less detailed, simply google You may find wacko sites, but you will also find articles from various newspapers and radio stations from 2005, a week or so after Camp Greyhound was built, Guantanamo style, in the parking lot between the NOLA train and bus stations. BAsically, the prisoners were held without being charged, without being tried, and without even a single phone call. They were America’s version of “Missing” in Chile. Many of their families thought they’d died in the Katrina floods, or been killed in the subsequent NOLA violence.

We need a constitutional amendment, I think. One that states “money is not speech” “corporations are not people” and some verbiage that eliminates legalized bribery, aka “campaign contributions”, etc.

I fear an amendment is the only way to wrest power away from our corrupt government. The legislature and the president sure aren’t going to voluntarily lose power, and they are the only ones who can clean up Washington DC, other than an amendment.

Anybody have a better idea?


avatar Glenn Stephens December 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Malcolm – A number of our political problems seem to require Amendments. But to pass Amendments demands building very broad coalitions. Not impossible, but difficult.

For Occupy to be the agent of such coalition building, it would have to copy the sequence of the Scandanavian Social Democrats, build a broad coalition and act on political reform first, then when the political system is democratized, work on the social and economic agenda.

Although I support a social democratic-democratic socialist and Green agenda, if a “red-green” agenda is at the fore, the coalition won’t happen. Not enough Americans are progressive or left or left liberal.

But if we work on a democratization agenda, we might pull in Dems, indies, Tea Party Populists, libertarians and some conservatives. Put simply, alot more people want real Democracy than want a Red-Green agenda.

Then, with the plutocracy dismantled, unions growing, and people mobilized, we push our social and economic and environmental agenda.


avatar malcolm December 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

Glenn, I hope your dreams come true. I’m not optimistic. I agree the OWS won’t be the agent of an amendment, but I do think they are going to at least focus a lot of people on what is happening, and some of them will doubtless favor an amendment, which is still, in my mind, the only likely way to clean up the mess Washington’s in.

Just before christmas I learned (surprise, surprise; not a word have I seen on MSM) that there are already several movements afoot to amend the constitution. The most exciting is shown on this video, which is an action taken by the Los Angeles City Council-unanimously. It’a called THE VOTE HEARD ROUND THE WORLD.

I think we need to get everybody on the same page, though, before we end up with 38 different versions, passed by 38 state legislatures (or state constitutional conventions).


and this:


Already there have been scads of votes to support an amendment:http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=203433765370726385061.000496ee20c83ccdb484d&ll=38.61687,-98.876953&spn=23.969184,52.734375&z=4&source=embed

Blue = Municipalities
Pink = Organizations
Green = Colleges & Universities
Red = Unions
Yellow = In progress


avatar malcolm December 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Hey, Glenn; maybe the OCW has more power than we think!
(see this.)

“Occupy Portland and the related protest movements across the country will crystallize in the form of two Portland City Council resolutions expected this week.

At least, that’s how Mayor Sam Adams — disappointed, he wrote, in this weekend’s “dance party” atmosphere at the Occupy Portland ReOccufest — views it.”


avatar ghjky January 1, 2012 at 5:27 am

There wont be a need for mayors or govenors either. Everyone ignores facts, one world government. Who owns the majority of the US? Where did they originate from?


avatar Glenn Stephens December 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Malcolm – I don’t know who the “we” you are referring to? Do you mean you and I?

I never said anything about the power of the Occupy movement. The amount of pwer depends on the objective forces pushing the movement and the success of the strategies it uses and counter-strategies.

If we (the Occupy movement) play our cards right, we can change the game.


avatar Stephen Voss December 28, 2011 at 10:47 am

I am all with Malcolm and Glenn. Los Angeles and Portland are extremely encouraging signs and they need our encouragement! This drive to amend the constitution may be the way we channel our energy. And if this succeeds you can think of other amendments worth proposing!

Guess I haven’t totally given up on the 1776 experiment …



avatar Old Hermit Dave December 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

Every one in the Senate and House that voted for indefinite detention for Americans, should be given an orange jump suit and held in Gitmo for an indefinite period of time


avatar ghjky January 1, 2012 at 5:20 am

Pretty soon you wont need judges or lawyers. They will be extinct.
Police will have to work twice as hard to pay taxes because the working class
Will be gone. Police states have been tried before and they usually collapse inon themselves.


avatar Kathleen Moore, Canada January 25, 2012 at 1:13 am


UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS cannot TOUCH the Constitution. Google this in quotes: “What? to do about Unconstitutional Acts – National Defense Authorization Act 2012 (NDAA)” or click here:


Spread this video, please. I’m trying to wake people up:


Thank you.


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