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Updated 7 am: Despite protests from the Obama administration and New Mexico legislators, a $662 billion defense spending bill still includes provisions allowing federal officials to indefinitely detain US citizens suspected of terrorism without a trial.
Yesterday, US Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, helped lead a charge in opposition to the controversial language.
“I strongly oppose mandating military custody and allowing for indefinite detention without due process or trial,” Heinrich, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, writes in an email to SFR. “These provisions are deeply concerning and would risk putting American citizens in military detention, indefinitely. In short, this authority is at complete odds with the United States Constitution.”
Heinrich and US Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, sent a letter signed by 30 other representatives (including Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM) urging leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to "make appropriate changes so that Congress can provide essential resources to our armed forces while ensuring we have the flexibility to confront terrorism as effectively as possible."
Committee members listened, but only to a degree. From the Associated Press:
The detainment language has prompted outrage from civil liberties groups like the ACLU, a scathing editorial by the New York Times (not to mention plenty of lampooning from liberal comedian Jon Stewart), and a veto threat from President Obama. Scroll down to read Heinrich's letter.