President Obama Reverses Controversial ‘Indefinite Detention’ section of NDAA

The highly controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which recently passed federal statute on the military detention and trial of terrorist suspects has just been whittled down by the Obama Administration.

The NDAA’s section 1022, which is the section that in context could potentially require that non-citizens suspected of strong links to terrorism be held in military instead of civilian custody has been reversed.


When President Obama used a waiver which extracted the nation out of the questionable part of the NDAA, it gave him some leeway to reverse the Bush/Cheney era policy of military detention — in essence, returning terrorism cases to civil courts as the default.

Daily Kos reports:

But legal experts agree that the waiver rules that President Obama has just issued will effectively end military detentions for non-citizen terrorism suspects:

“Yesterday evening, the Obama Administration issued a policy directive that effectively negates much of the NDAA’s section 1022, the section that purports to require that non-citizens suspected of strong links to terrorism be held in military, rather than civilian, custody.Using a national security rationale, the directive reverses the presumption of military detention that section 1022 had established.” says Joanne Mariner, director of Hunter College’s Human Rights Program at her blog Verdict.

“The President has–rightly in my view–read this law virtually out of existence.”says the terrorism-focused legal blog Lawfare.

“This is essentially a 3,450-word line-item veto, rendering the mandatory military detention provision mostly moot,” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch.


This should calm the masses. I was suspect of the signing of the NDAA and have been relentless in pursuing the reasons behind that provision — certainly in this day with the overreach of the government, law enforcement and powers that be, caution is wise.


Search through the revised NDAA here. This does not solely apply to American citizens but non-citizens as well. If the President would now step up on closing Gitmo this would be a slam dunk.



  • novenator

    It should be noted that detention of legal resident aliens and citizens was not in the final bill that Obama signed, and he underlined his opposition to detainment in a signing statement anyways.

    It was in previous versions of the bill, and it’s important to recognize that the Feinstein Amendment would have stripped the entire provision out, but it was blocked by Republicans and a handful of conservative Democrats. Thus, don’t believe any liars on the corporate right that try to tell you that “both sides are the same”, it was the corporate right wing that was FOR this thing, not progressives.

  • traydevon

    How does this “news apparently worth celebrating” (sarcasm) apply to future administrations? Based on the last paragraph on the Lawfare site, it would seem that another administration can simply “read the law” back into existence, which has always been the problem with signing it into law to begin with. Maybe Congress will pass the Due Process Guarantee Act, which seems redundant since it’s already in the 5th & 14th Amendments.

  • maggy

    POTUS has REPEATEDLY tried to close GItmo. Haven’t you been paying attention to how congress, Dems and GOP have cut the funding requested to close it? PLEASE stop repeating that lie! How could you be so clueless?

  • Sillyminion

    He issued a policy statement that said he would not detain non-citizens suspected of strong links to terrorism in military, rather than civilian, custody. He didn’t “reverse” anything. All he said is that “yes, I have the ability to detain people without proper due process but I won’t”.

    However, he can decide tomorrow that he will detain people without proper due process. A signing statement is not law, nor is it binding of future presidents let alone the current one.

    • Jsniemeyer

      Exactly. This is a do-nothing action aimed at re-election. He effectively retains the power of indefinite retention while being able to say that he opposes it.

  • Lavigner

    another sad day for us an the nation thank president obama

  • Lavigner

    another sad day for us an the nation thank president obama

  • Steve Miller

    The signing statement that Obama signed regarding indefinite detention of Americans arrested on American soil was a plain admission by Obama that that power did (and still does) exist under the NDAA. Leaving aside the fact that he vowed to veto the bill (as he also vowed *not* to use extra-constitutional signing statements), and notwithstanding any toothless “waivers”……..the NDAA is a loaded gun, pointed at the American people.

    Obama himself (according to Carl Levin) lobbied for the Executive to have the powers enumerated in the bill included; check the youtube video of him (Sen. Levin) speaking on the Senate floor.

    BOTH of the two amendments to NDAA which explicitly removed the indefinite detention by the military of American citizens from the NDAA (one by Diane Feinstein, the other by Mark Udall) were defeated by wide margins.

    As someone who voted for Obama, cried tears of joy, and danced in the streets, I don’t mind telling you I am flabbergasted that the “Constitutional Scholar” I voted for would shit all over the Founding Document of our nation like this. I cannot condone this just because Obama is “my guy”. It’s safe to say that if Bush had signed this bill, the same apologists who are trying to smooth ruffled feathers would instead be squawking-and loudly.

    I loathed G.W. Bush, but I will say this for him: he fought like hell for everything him and his side wanted, and often won. Obama tucks his tail between his legs and runs…..Guantanamo being a prime example. Too scared of being painted as “soft on terror” or any one of the other code words used by the far right, he withered under their disparagement and maneuvering, instead of standing firm and fighting for the principles on which this country was founded. And the NDAA is the final (I hope) brick in the wall………..disgusting.

    How can you love America, and the Constitution, and yet apologize for this shit?