Neugebauer: NDAA detention 'doesn't pertain to American citizens'

Published: Jan. 13, 2012 at 12:05 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 1:49 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA was made law in mid-December and KCBD viewers are clearly concerned.

Some are worried that it gives the federal government the authority to lock up U.S. citizens with no trial or formal hearing.

One viewer on our Facebook page said, "It's taking away America's rights. Everyone needs to know about this," and others immediately agreed.  And that's just from Thursday's discussion.

There is language in the new law that says the military can detain "any person" for "hostilities"

But we've learned this is actually a repeat of laws passed roughly 10 years ago.

Congressional leaders have said this creates no new legal authority to detain U.S. citizens, and Congressman Randy Neugebauer says some accounts have misinterpreted the law.

"I'm concerned about big government, making sure big government doesn't have the ability to detain American citizens unlawfully, and we certainly would never vote for anything that does that," Neugebauer said.

President Obama expressed some concern in his signing statement of the bill earlier this month.  Obama wrote, "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens."

"I think the law that we passed made it clear that it doesn't pertain to American citizens," Neugebauer said. "But the Constitution does protect - American citizens can't be detained without the right to know why you're being detained and have representation."

On his website Neugebauer quotes a section of the law as saying, "the requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States."

The bill is nearly 1,000 pages long and another passage seems to contradict the one quoted by the Congressman.  It says the military is authorized to detain "any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities."

Neugebauer adds that if he finds out later from constitutional scholars that the new law does violate people's rights, then he will lead the effort to get it changed.

You can read a more complete statement here on Congressman Neugebauer's blog.

Copyright 2012 KCBD NewsChannel 11