Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If we are at war with al Qaeda, why did Congress support Obama's policy which allowed them to take over Libya?

Senate defies Obama veto threat in terrorist custody vote

“We are at war with al Qaeda and people determined to be part of al Qaeda should be treated as people who are at war with us,” Mr. Levin said.

By Stephen Dinan

Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the Senate voted Tuesday to preserve language that would give the U.S. military a crack at al Qaeda operatives captured in the U.S., even if they are American citizens.

Led by Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, senators voted 61-37 to preserve the language that gives the military custody of al Qaeda suspects, rather than turning them over to law enforcement officials.

“We are at war with al Qaeda and people determined to be part of al Qaeda should be treated as people who are at war with us,” Mr. Levin said.

He and Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on his committee, had struck a deal earlier this month on giving the military priority custody, while allowing the administration to waive that and give civilian authorities priority if it deems the waiver in the interests of national security.

The White House and its Senate allies objected and tried to block the changes, instead calling for the issue to be studied further.

They argued giving the military priority could complicate investigations into terrorist suspects in the U.S., and said it opens the door to indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens.

“We’re ignoring the advice and the input of the director of the FBI, the director of our intelligence community, the attorney general of the United States,” said Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, who led the effort to block the compromise.

The White House earlier had threatened to veto the bill over the provisions, saying they amounted to an effort to micromanage the war on terror.

“Any bill that challenges or constrains the president’s critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the nation would prompt the president’s senior advisers to recommend a veto,” the White House said in a statement.

But 16 Democrats, one independent and 44 Republicans joined together to defy Mr. Obama’s threat. Two Republicans — Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois — voted to strip out the detainee language.

The fight was part of a broader debate over the annual defense policy bill, which is considered one of the few must-pass pieces of legislation Congress considers each year.

The House has already passed its version with strict detainee language, so the Senate vote makes it likely whatever final bill reaches the president’s desk will contain the provision.


No comments:

Post a Comment