Udall, ACLU attempted sleight of hand with opposition to military bill

by Peter Grady –

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that the ACLU and Sen. Mark Udall said would allow the military to detain Americans on our own soil.

S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization bill was opposed by President Obama, the American Civil Liberties Union and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall. Obama has threatened to veto the bill because he feels it will unduly inhibit his ability to fight the global war on terror.

The controversial sections are 1031 and 1032, which critics say grants sweeping new powers to the president allowing him to use the military to detain any U.S. citizen indefinitely within the country itself.

In opposing the bill the ACLU said “The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.”

Sen. Mark Udall echoed similar sentiments saying “One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil.  Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil.”

Udall subsequently proposed an amendment that he claims would alleviate these concerns. The Obama administration supported Udall’s amendment.

When one reads the actual text, it appears as if Udall’s amendment would have granted the president more authority than the sections the ACLU, Obama and others opposed.

Section 1031 of the bills explicitly states “Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

Section 1032 , which the ACLU says gives the president “the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world,” actually says The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

The Udall amendment which was supported by Obama and the ACLU repeals section 1032 which states it does not apply to American citizens; and instead calls for Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security secretary to submit a report explaining what additional powers the president should be granted.

The amendment states that after receiving the report, Congress will pass legislation “modifying or expanding the authority of the Executive Branch to carry out detention and prosecution of covered persons.”

At that time Congress could have theoretically granted the military authority to detain American citizens on U.S. soil.

The Senate instead chose to reject the Udall amendment that could have granted the president more powers, favoring instead the bill that preserves the status quo.


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7 Responses to Udall, ACLU attempted sleight of hand with opposition to military bill

  1. DDearborn says:


    The provisions you state that “protect” American citizens were removed from the final wording of the Act as voted upon by the Senate. These “protection” clauses were in a prior bill, not S.1867. The author of this article is the one attempting a slight of hand. No that is not strong enough. The author of this article is either grossly misinformed or a flat out liar.

  2. Chris says:

    The “requirement” exclusion you quote, is specifically that, an exclusion to the requirement. That exclusion also applies to “this section”:

    Section 1032 (b) (1):
    UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under
    this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

    Note: “requirement” and “this section”

    Section 1031:
    Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

    While subsection b is fairly limited (persons involved in the 9/11 attacks or aiding al-Qaeda), the definition of Covered persons begins with:

    A covered person under this section is ***any person*** as follows:

    There is NO exclusion to ALLOW the armed forces to detain American citizens, merely an exclusion from the REQUIREMENT.

    Additional covered persons are those “including any person who has committed a belligerent act”

    Wow, very well defined. Occupy Wallstreet could possibly be defined as belligerent, no?

    Furthermore, subsection (c) (1) states:

    Detention under the law of war ***without trial*** until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

    Without trial. American citizens arrested under pretense of treason due to belligerence against the US Government being held indefinitely without trial.

    While I have not read Udall’s amendment, I find the focus on that piece in particular, disturbing, as opposed to say, the sleight of hand our government just pulled on us.

  3. Meredith Wouters says:

    1031 sec (d) Constitutional Limitation on Applicability to United States Persons- The authority to detain a person under this section does not extend to the detention of citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.


    don’t be an idiot

  4. Disgusted says:

    I cry for the loss of this once great nation. Who would want to live with the fear of never knowing when you are going to be taken away forever, no one to help you when you’ve done nothing wrong.
    Those we sent to D.C. to protect us are now destroying us with laws like this. Who will call and say this is going too far? I am. Then again, the Patriot Act pretty much destroyed our country.
    Will the world shout with joy when they see us go down? Isn’t that what most of this is about? We’re just too free? Now that’s a joke.

  5. Nicholas Baker says:

    If it does not apply to citizens, how come one of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Lindsey Graham, said this:

    “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

    I look forward to a response!

  6. Clarence says:

    Are you retarded?
    Just because the bill says they are not REQUIRED it doesn’t say THEY CAN’T.
    And the whole point is they shouldn’t be able to do so in the first place.
    This country is going to hell, and people like you are helping it go there.
    And by the way, I hate both political parties, I didn’t vote for Obama , and I’m not going to vote for Obama.

  7. Daniel says:

    I almost agree, but I think there is a distinction made in Secs. 1031-1032 between authority and requirement to detain. 1031 states that the Armed Forces have the authority to detain covered persons and makes no mention of excluding U.S. citizens. 1032 states that they are required to do so and does exclude citizens.

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