McCain and Lieberman Introduce Bill Authorizing Indefinite Detention

Another disaster in the making: Via the ACLU, John McCain and Joe Lieberman have introduced the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010.

The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010, introduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), would also create an entirely new system of interrogation by requiring intelligence officials to be consulted about how to handle terrorism suspects after their capture. The bill was precipitated by misguided objections to the Obama administration’s correct decision to charge accused Christmas Day attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal court system. The legislation would have a “high value detainee” team, made up of members of different intelligence agencies, interrogate and determine whether alleged terrorist suspects are “unprivileged enemy belligerents.” If so, and if the suspect is then charged, the legislation would mandate the use of the discredited and unconstitutional military commissions.


“The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act is a direct attack on the Constitution.

“Indefinite detention flies in the face of American values and violates this country’s commitment to the rule of law. Over the last decade, we have seen how disregard for the rule of law has disastrous results for America’s standing in the world, and it is unfathomable that Senators McCain and Lieberman would forget so recent a lesson. We must forever put an end to the false and dangerous assumption that sacrificing our principles makes us safe. We should never conclude that our ideals are not strong enough to withstand these threats.

< NY Iman Pleads in Zazi Case, Will Be Deported | A Private Pat On The Head For Progressives; Capitulation To Stupak? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Unfortunately, this is the type of bill (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:39:00 PM EST
    that will get bipartisanship support in the Senate.

    I anticipate this will pass either this year or in the next Congress after the Dems lose their super majority in the House.

    Coming soon... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by mcl on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:39:17 PM EST
    The Secretary of Torture. It will be a cabinet-level post. The most prestigious in Washington.

    Hate to break it to you... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:46:23 AM EST
    but that arrived a long time ago...only we call the position CIA director.

    Declaration of Independence (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by ricosuave on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:51:38 PM EST
    if you read the complaints about King George past this one:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    you find these:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

    But that is just crazy 18th century idealisim...nobody believes that stuff nowadays, to they?

    I would be too scared to live in the USA (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by BobTinKY on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:35:56 AM EST
    if this bill does not pass.

    I sleep so much better knowing Honest John and St. Joe are  protecting me.

    OMG, the man who once was (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 08:25:33 AM EST
    flipped out that we were torturing because he can't raise his own arms over his head and hasn't been able to since he survived torture during the Vietnam War now wants special belligerent interrogation for prisoners of war who act like he did.  Jesus Feck!

    Drone assassinations seem a fairer and (none / 0) (#1)
    by kidneystones on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 09:34:58 PM EST
    faster way to deal with the troubling questions of 'what is right?' (snark) Drone assassinations are already official US policy. (not snark)

    Extended incarceration on the basis of accusation is a policy a lot of Americans can get behind, not just Americans. The UK has something similar. Folks can be held for a several weeks, I think, without a trial or? legal representation.

    This is why Yoo is more than just an enabler. The law is fuzzy on these points and Dems are likely to be very unhappy with the findings.

    Which is probably part of the reason Lieberman and McCain figure 'now's the time'.

    Seems to me that holding someone for (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:41:23 PM EST
    several weeks is substantially different from holding someone indefinitely.

    Seriously (none / 0) (#7)
    by nycstray on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:46:31 PM EST
    we've been holding people for how long now? And not to mention that pesky lil' issue called torture.

    I agree completely (none / 0) (#9)
    by kidneystones on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:53:29 PM EST
    but that doesn't change my basic point that extended detention wins support outside the US as well as within, which means Dems are making a mistake if they think there aren't plenty of hawkish soccer moms on the detention issue.

    I'm too lazy to look it up but I think the current Brit legislation allows for detention up to two or three weeks and that this legislation is reviewed on a regular basis to confirm that it is still necessary. Goes back to 'the troubles'.

    One of the problems with the Kennedy Camelot narrative, btw, is the blind-eye MA Dems turned for years to fund-raising for Catholic 'freedom-fighting' in the UK. 9/11 offered Blair the first real opportunity to drive a stake in US support for anti-UK terrorism.

    The detention question is one Dems need like a hole in the head. There are plenty of Dems who want some form of extra-judicial defense, incarceration, attack, and interrogation capabilities that remove the protections enjoyed by 'ordinary' civilians. Yes, I'm aware what a can of worms this is.

    Always enjoy your comments, btw.


    Peter King (none / 0) (#17)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:22:32 PM EST
    Republican Congressman State of NY, guy actually raised money for the IRA and has the gall to come out and criticize things like Trials in NY or closing Gitmo- I mean get that its different because AQ members aren't white and Catholic and thus can't be sympathized with in the way guy who blows away people in Ireland or on the streets of London can but it still galls me (would gall me less if anyone dared call out the man's incredible hypocrisy- just a simple question, not even asking him if he cheered a bit inside when he heard about the London bombings before realizing it was bad due to the terrorists not being white).

    politically costly (and in some cases debatable morally- would it really be more moral to let some of the truly odious- say the KSM types go because we tortured them- we'd convict in federal court but torture taints almost everything, even knowing that doing so would almost undoubtedly result in innocent lives being lost?) without any real upside other than intangible FP benifets and hypothetical future cooperation- its not like say the Civil Rights Act where the massive costs had balancing benefits.

    Drone assassinations (none / 0) (#16)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:17:57 PM EST
    were a part of US policy for a long, long time- unless you think Cruise Missle Strikes in the 90s in the Sudan, or Airstrikes in Libya in the 80s were somehow different than Drone strikes in the 00s in Pakistan.

    This is just disgusting, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 09:44:19 PM EST
    I'm just so sickened and demoralized by this kind of thing; it's almost too much to contemplate.

    Worse, I think this is just what the president wants.  The Democratic president.  The one who was going to undo all the Bush garbage.


    see my next post (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 10:42:17 PM EST
    He's about to get a pink slip.

    moving to another country? (none / 0) (#15)
    by nyrias on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:41:42 PM EST
    I don't see this to get a lot of opposition from the American people.

    What exactly does a (none / 0) (#10)
    by vml68 on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 07:21:45 AM EST
    "Belligerent Interrogation" entail?

    sounds like a good time (none / 0) (#13)
    by CST on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 09:13:55 AM EST
    to bust out the veto pen.

    Funnily enough (none / 0) (#19)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 04:28:59 PM EST
    I'm willing to bet that strong executive types would support a veto (its debatable whether they'd say so outlound)- this a major restriction on the executive branch.