Sen. Franken's Statement in the Judiciary Committee Hearing on NDAA
The Due Process Guarantee Act: Banning the Indefinite Detention of Americans
(As Prepared For Delivery)
Last December, when the Senate was debating the Defense Authorization bill, there were very few Senators who were as tenacious as Chairman Feinstein in pushing for better language to be included to prevent the indefinite military detention of Americans, and I really want to applaud her efforts to get a better bill passed into law.
I filed two amendments that would have stripped two of the detention provisions from the Defense Authorization. Unfortunately, I was not able to get votes on my amendments, and despite our best efforts, Congress ended up passing a bill that will radically alter how we investigate, arrest, and detain individuals suspected of terrorism. This is, in my mind, a complete mistake.
The idea that we could arrest and detain U.S. citizens and other persons living in the U.S. indefinitely-- without charge, without trial by a jury of their peers, and without having to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt-is in my opinion a denigration of the Bill of Rights. It is a denigration of what our Founders created when they established a civilian, non-military justice system for trying and punishing people for crimes they commit on U.S. soil.
And while I support Sen. Feinstein's bill and agree our priority should be in making sure that American citizens are not arrested by the military in the U.S., I think it is a mistake for the military to be authorized to detain anyone here in the U.S.-regardless of whether they are a citizen or not.