Sen. Levin: White House ‘Exaggerating’ Detainee Provision in Defense Bill

Insists National Security Waiver Would Allow Civilian Custody for Some Suspects

Faced with a threatened veto by President Obama, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D – MI) rejected criticism of the “detainee provision” in the latest military spending bill, saying it was “exaggerated and misinterpreted.”

The provision was originally meant to require all terror “suspects” be handed over to the military to preclude any sort of civilian trial. Incredibly, the objections were entirely over it restricting the president’s ability to decide these things unilaterally, not the idea of cutting civilian courts entirely out of a whole class of crimes.

After the threatened vetoes Levin added a number of loopholes. This didn’t stop the threats, however, and Levin says that the “national security waiver” he inserted would allow the president to ignore the provision when “necessary.”

“Nothing is automatic” insisted Levin, who maintains that he made every single change the White House demanded of him, and was baffled by the continued threat to veto the massive spending bill.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.