Top Dems Support Hagel, But Stop Short of Guaranteeing Confirmation

In a sign of the trouble Chuck Hagel faces in winning support to head the Pentagon, two top Senate Democrats offered praise for former senator –but stopped short of assuring his confirmation. President Obama made official on Monday his choice of Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, an expected nomination that’s already come under extreme fire. The president also named counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA. Hagel faces opposition from the left and right: from the left for controversial comments about gays, and for the right for positions on Iran, Israel and others. “Senator Hagel has a deep understanding of the national security establishment, which grew out of his experiences as a decorated war veteran, a … Continue reading

Mark Udall Continues His Push Against Indefinite Detention Policy

A key Democratic senator is actively continuing to try to defeat provisions in a defense bill which would allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens captured by the military, including those taken on U.S. soil. As a member of the conference committee tasked with hammering out differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado continues to press an influential proponent of the detentions policy to try to reach some compromise. At issue is legislation buried within the NDAA which would allow the U.S. military to capture and imprison civilians — without any charge or trial — including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including on U.S. soil. An annual … Continue reading

After Day Of Scrambling, Detention Policy Veto Still Looms

Fractured Senate Democrats worked Thursday to find compromise over language for legislation which ultimately could allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial. Their efforts, however, were limited at best, leaving the defense bill open to the very real threat of a rare presidential veto. The overall National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains a provision which opponents say could allow the unlimited detention of U.S. citizens by the military, both at home and abroad. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill over the issue of indefinite detention, which top members of his administration — including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — oppose. Others, particularly Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), have insisted on including the detention language in … Continue reading

Senate Pushes Obama Closer To Defense Veto

The Senate rejection of a ban on unlimited detention of U.S. citizens has brought a rare veto by President Obama much closer to reality. Senators voted down an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Wednesday which would have removed provisions of the pending overall defense authorization bill which allow the U.S. military to capture and imprison civilians — without any charge or trial — including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including on U.S. soil. The issue of infinite detention now goes to lawmakers who must hammer out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). An annual bill, the overall NDAA authorizes by law the government’s defense and national security activities. … Continue reading