Detainee Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Bills [July 18, 2011]   [open pdf - 341KB]

"Both House and Senate bills competing to become the National Defense Authorization Act of FY2012 contain a subtitle addressing issues related to detainees at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more broadly, hostilities against Al Qaeda and other entities. At the heart of both bills' detainee provisions appears to be an effort to confirm or, as some observers view it, expand the detention authority that Congress implicitly granted the President via the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF, P.L. 107-40) in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. […] Shortly before H.R. 1540 was approved by the House, the White House issued a statement regarding its provisions. While supportive of most aspects of the bill, it was highly critical of those provisions concerning detainee matters. The Administration voiced strong opposition to the House provision reaffirming the existence of the armed conflict with Al Qaeda and arguably redefining its scope. It threatened to veto any version of the bill that contains provisions that the Administration views as challenging critical executive branch authority, including restrictions on detainee transfers and measures affecting review procedures. Although the Administration has not issued a similarly detailed statement regarding S. 1253, it seems likely that many of the Senate bill's detainee provisions will evoke similar objections. This report offers a brief background of the salient issues raised by the bills regarding detention matters, provides a section-by-section analysis of the relevant subdivision of each bill, and compares the bills' approach with respect to the major issues they address."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41920
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