I, among other kossacks, was chilled (to put it mildly) by the implications of Ralph Lopez' diary yesterday Why Obama Will Not Veto NDAA Military Detention of Americans: He Requested It.
Now today, in Politico, reporter Josh Gerstein has contributed a piece titled White House: No military detention for U.S. Citizens captured here.
Below the fold, please.
American citizens who are captured in the United States and suspected of joining or aiding Al Qaeda should not be placed in military detention or sent to military trial, a top White House official said Friday."If we go down this road, we’re sending a very bad signal", he said. Well duh! Trashing the Fifth Amendment IS sending a very bad signal, back where I grew up.
In an interview with NPR, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said using the law of war, rather than civilian criminal courts, to detain a U.S. citizen captured in the U.S. would undermine the rights of Americans and the ability of the U.S. to urge other countries to respect the rule of law.
"It’s very troubling, in terms of picking up somebody here on U.S. soil," Brennan said. "When I go overseas and I talk to other governments, talking to them about making sure that they handle their cases appropriately and not throw people into military detention, not throw them into a military court, hold them indefinitely without due process of law. This is what has caused a lot of problems overseas. If we go down this road, we’re sending a very bad signal. We need to demonstrate, through the strength of our judicial system, that we can handle these issues, particularly on our soil, in a way that’s consistent to our commitment to the rule of law, but also works very effectively in terms of getting intelligence we need to keep this country safe."
Brennan's latest remarks are noteworthy because they go beyond the Statement of Administration Policy the White House issued last month threatening a veto of the NDAA. In addition, just a few hours before Brennan spoke, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly refused to answer essentially the same question during a regular press briefing.. .
The White House's stance on U.S. citizen detention is likely to be hailed by civil liberties and human rights groups and denounced by proponents of greater use of law-of-war detention, such as Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
This is all literally making my head hurt.
I'm having trouble parsing this out.
I've gone to the ACLU website, and used their setup to email my senators to vote against NDAA.
Since I'm having trouble sorting out the news above, does anyone want to offer a take on these remarks from John Brennan? Why would the press secretary refuse today to address these topics?