U.S. defense bill provision would indefinitely detain American citizens

December 9, 2011

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(AP/Brennan Linsley)
Critics of the new bill say it would place U.S. citizens in a judicial limbo similar to that of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Last week, the Senate passed a defense bill that would give the military the power to arrest and indefinitely detain Americans suspected of terrorism, including those on U.S. soil.

Months after Osama Bin Laden's assassination and shortly before a complete withdrawal from Iraq, the bill appears to put the U.S. on war footing.

Civil libertarians are up in arms about the National Defense Authorization Act, saying it would enable the government to treat U.S. citizens just as they treated foreign detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, President Obama is leaving open the possibility of a veto.

Doug Cassel, Worldview's human rights contributor and a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School, provides analysis.