Exclusive: Obama White House Threatens to veto 2013 NDAA if Gitmo is not closed … Updated
Appearing in Canada Free Press.
There’s a showdown happening in Washington and it could get very ugly soon. Will President Barack Obama’s first-term promise to close down Guantánamo Bay and bring Gitmo detainees to the U.S become a reality or will the Republicans with the support of some Democrats block the Obama administration again?
Late last night the Senate passed a measure introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) preventing terrorist detainees from being transferred from the U.S. prison in Guantánamo to U.S. soil.
However, earlier yesterday the White House started circulating a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) warning that President Obama would veto the renewal of the pending 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if Guantánamo transfer and funding restrictions were not removed. The SAP also warned the Senate not to add any new detention provisions.
The National Defense Authorization Act is legislation which provides budget authority to the Department of Defense and to the Department of Energy’s national security programs.
In a nation already divided, the divide is about to become even sharper. Who will win this battle that effects national security and potentially the safety of Americans at home?
Following are the clauses in the White House SAP regarding the pending 2013 NDAA veto and Gitmo detainees.
“Detainee Matters: The Administration strongly objects to section 1031′s restrictions on the use of funds to transfer detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries. When he signed past versions of this legislation, the President objected to the restrictions carried forward by section 1031, promised to work towards their repeal, and warned the Congress that the restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries would in certain circumstances interfere with constitutional responsibilities committed to the Executive Branch. Since these restrictions have been on the books, they have limited the Executive’s ability to manage military operations in an ongoing armed conflict, harmed the country’s diplomatic relations with allies and counterterrorism partners, and provided no benefit whatsoever to our national security. The Administration continues to believe that restricting the transfer of detainees to the custody of foreign countries in the context of an ongoing armed conflict interferes with the Executive’s ability to make important foreign policy and national security determinations, and would in certain circumstances violate constitutional separation of powers principles.
The Administration also continues to oppose the prohibition on funding to construct, acquire or modify a detention facility in the United States to house any individual detained at Guantanamo, which shortsightedly constrains the options available to military and counterterrorism professionals to address evolving threats. The restrictions carried forward by section 1031 were misguided when they were enacted and should not be renewed.”
Last year the passage of the 2012 NDAA sparked outrage and dismay when a last minute clause that made it easier for the U.S. government to detain U.S. citizens and legal residents indefinitely was added. Currently an amendment spearheaded by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) to end that is in the works. However, as The Huffington Post reported, some civil right groups say Feinstein’s measure is a step in the right direction but it “does not provide justice for all, because it does not apply to non-citizens or Americans caught overseas. “
In an email interview, Tim Sumner, Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army (retired) and Co-founder, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America said, “Thursday evening, 10 Democrats joined 44 Republicans in the Senate and voted last night to block all federal monies from being used to transfer Gitmo to the U.S. Like me, those 54 Senators read the report to Senator Dianne Feinstein all the way through and see the GAO cited serious security, legal, and international treaty concerns.
$114 million dollars to keep those barbarians locked up far away from the America public is money well spent. The GAO noted the extensive measures taken there to prevent detainees from learning the identities of those guarding them. Unmentioned was why. Detainees have repeatedly threatened to hunt down and murder the family members of those guarding them. Imagine that threat moved to U.S., to the detriment of Bureau of Prison or U.S. military police guards and their families, with our open society, nearly everyone carrying a cell phone with a camera, and the Internet.”
Read the entire SAP on the pending NDAA on the Gitmo detainees.