Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rubio Defends National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2012

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a letter where he attempts to explain why he supported the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 after the controversial act came under attack by his Libertarian, Democratic and Republican constituents.

Senator Rubio's letter follows in its entirety:

Several people have asked about my votes on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.  In particular, some people are wrongly suggesting that this legislation will allow the military to capture and indefinitely detain any American citizen, and that the US Armed Forces would be able to perform law enforcement functions on American soil because of the authority conferred under Sections 1031 and 1032 of the Act.  While I do have other serious concerns with this legislation, those particular assertions could not be further from the truth.  I want to take this time to explain what the law actually does, what my position is on these issues, and why I joined with Senators Demint, Coburn and Lee to vote for those specific sections, but against cloture on the final bill. 

Section 1031 of this act merely affirms the authority that the president already has to detain certain people pursuant to the current Authorization for Use of Military Force; in fact, this same section of the bill specifically states that nothing stated in Section 1031 is intended to expand the president’s power.  In addition, this section sets specific limits on who can be detained under this act to only those people who planned or helped carry out the 9/11 attacks on the United States or people who are a member of, or substantially support, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or their respective affiliates.  There is no language that could possibly be construed as repealing the Posse Comitatus Act and allowing the US military to supplant your local police department in carrying out typical law enforcement activities.

In particular, some folks are concerned about the language in Section 1031 that says that this includes “any person committing a belligerent act or directly supported such hostilities of such enemy forces.”  This language clearly and unequivocally refers back to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or its affiliates.  Thus, not only would any person in question need to be involved with Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or its surrogates, but that person must also engage in a deliberate and substantial act that directly supports their efforts against us in the war on terror in order to be detained under this provision.  There is nothing in this bill that could be construed in any way that would allow any branch of the military to detain a law-abiding American citizen if you go to the local gun store or grocery store.  What this section of the bill does is help provide for our national security by giving clarity to the military in regard to its authority to detain people who have committed substantially harmful acts against the United States.  This is extremely important given that there are Al-Qaeda cells currently operating within our borders.  I would not leave the risk of a terrorist attack that could claim the life of a member of my family up to chance, and I will not leave that risk for your family either.

Section 1032 of this bill concerns a smaller group of people who Congress feels are required to be detained by the US military because people who fit within this criteria are a more serious threat to our national security.  Any person detained under Section 1032 must be a member of, or part of, Al-Qaeda or its associates AND they must have participated in the planning or execution of an attack against the US or our coalition partners.  Simply put, the application of this detention requirement is limited to Al-Qaeda members that have tried to attack the US or its allies.  However, this detention requirement is clearly limited by a clause that states that the requirement to detain does not extend to US citizens or lawful permanent residents. 

Together, these two sections do the following: they affirm the authority of the executive branch to act within our national interest and they provide the federal government with the tools that are needed to maintain our national security.  This bill does NOT overturn the Posse Comitatus Act; the military will not be patrolling the streets.  This bill does not take away your rights as a citizen or lawful permanent resident; the authority under this act does not take away one’s habeas rights.  These sections do NOT take away an individual’s rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, nor do they take away one’s due process rights afforded under the 5th or 14th.  If this bill did such a thing, I would strongly oppose it.

I want to thank everyone for reaching out to the office to voice your concerns on this bill.  I want to assure you that I always have, and always will, listen to your concerns and address them in a timely fashion.  I know this bill is not perfect; in fact, I proposed 2 Amendments to prevent the President from transferring foreign terrorists to the US to be prosecuted in the federal court system, and I joined with Senators DeMint, Coburn, and Lee to vote against cloture.  However, in regard to the assertions that this bill allows the US military to supplant our local police departments or that it allows the federal government to detain otherwise law abiding citizens for simply carrying on in their daily lives, those assertions are entirely unfounded. 


  1. If anyone still believes anything that politicians have to say, I have a very nice, rustic looking bridge I'd like to sell you...In Brooklyn.

  2. I have read the text of the sections mentioned here. I believe that Section 1031 clearly leaves a lot of discretion up to authorities without any recourse on the part of the "detainee". It is just entirely too vague to not have the potential for misuse. Mr. Rubio states about this section "clearly and unequivocally refers back to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or its affiliates" however if there is no trial it is the military's word against the detainees as to whether or not someone is a member or affiliate of these organizations. While I believe that at this time our military is made up of mostly honorable people I believe also that "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."~Lord Acton

  3. This guy and every other senator who approved this bill should be held in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without access to a lawyer.

  4. Every senator that has voted in favor of this legislation should be tried for treason.

    It's amazing how often politicians would have us believe that new legislation isn't "changing" anything, merely "reaffirming". I wasn't aware the president's and/or congress' military powers were so vague as to need constant "reaffirmation".

    At BEST, Senator Rubio is an idiot, and doesn't understand that:

    (1) even if this bill doesn't immediately allow for the indefinite detainment of American citizens, it sets a precedent for further reductions in civil liberties and degradation of the constitution; and

    (2) that he himself, and/or his family will eventually inevitably fall victim to the incredibly powerful overarching police state he is helping to create.

    At worst, he's as corrupt as the special interest groups behind this absurd power grab and is actively participating in the destruction of this country.

  5. If our officials are positive, beyond a doubt, that these individuals are guilty, they should have no problem at all proving that to a judge and jury in a fair trial. Everyone deserves a fair, public, and speedy trial; our country firmly believes in that.

    Innocent people could be rotting in jail for dozens of decades without ever being offered a chance to prove their innocence. Again, if the powers that be are certain of an individuals' guilt, they should have no problem proving it in a court of law -- done deal. Sounds easy, yes? We need more transparency in our government and more checks and balances, not less. As user 'lkp321' quoted above:


    Secrecy, in matters such as this, do not help anyone but the guilty.

  6. Rubio is a flim flam man I have taken the time to read s. 1867 several times and it does in fact give the DOD the ability to have "agents or officers" ‘‘(A) enforce Federal laws and regulations
    5 for the protection of persons and property;
    6 ‘‘(B) carry firearms;
    7 ‘‘(C) make arrests—
    8 ‘‘

    it is on page 447,448, and 449 of S.1867
    This Senator debunks Rubio completly giving detailed examples Why this is WRONG and does take away our rights as US citizens.

  7. National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 needs to be VETOED follow this link to TAKE ACTION.




    Here's an ACTUAL petition to sign, to vote down S 1867.

  10. This law was written to apparently appease the red meat politicians who seems to want War to go on forever, spending taxpayer money without end. I have read the 1867 (1053 clause) of the law and it is, in my humble opinion, unconstitutional. What happened to this country. This law is a step in the wrong direction and does not make us a better society.

  11. I can only say this is all political drama..Hope we can't discuss a lot on this issue. Authorization Letters