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Published on Dec 12, 2011
This is the response letter I received from Senator Bob Corker regarding my letter to him about the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
Thank you for contacting my office regarding provisions related to the disposition of detainees in the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.
Like you, I believe that protecting our constitutional rights is one of the most significant responsibilities of the U.S. Senate. I understand the concerns presented in your letter, but I think it is important to note that there is a significant amount of misinformation being circulated with regard to the provisions of the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act which recently passed in the Senate. I can assure you, nothing in this bill changes current law or practice in any way as it relates to U.S. citizens or the military's ability to operate within the United States.
In an effort to clear up any misconceptions about the bill's intent, an amendment, which I supported, was added to the final Senate version of the bill and reads, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of US citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States." This amendment passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 99 to 1. The final Senate bill passed by a vote of 93 to 7, and includes authorization for a number of essential programs and benefits to support our troops, including a 1.6% pay raise for active duty military.
I believe we must have legal methods in place to remove combatants from the battlefield, obtain critical intelligence, and detain those that are a threat to the American people. However, I understand the important balance that must be met between protecting our nation from future attacks and preserving our civil liberties. I can assure you I will certainly keep these sentiments and your thoughts in mind should the U.S. Senate consider relevant legislation in the future, and I thank you for your input.
Thank you again for your letter. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me throughout the course of my term.