Susan A. Davis Replies to the Open Letter

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On December 18, 2011 I posted An Open Letter to President Obama and all members of Congress. The following is the reply I received from Rep. Susan A. Davis.

SUSAN A. DAVIS

53rd DISTRICT, CALIFORNIA

WASHINGTON OFFICE:

1526 LONGWORTH HOB
WASHINGTON, DC 20515
(202) 225-2010

SAN DIEGO OFFICE:

2700 ADAMS AVENUE, SUITE 102
SAN DIEGO, CA 92116
(619) 280-5353

COMMITTEES:

ARMED SERVICES

SUBCOMMITTEES:
MILITARY PERSONNEL, RANKING MEMBER
SEAPOWER AND PROJECTION FORCES
EMERGING THREATS AND CAPABILITIES

EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE

SUBCOMMITTEES:
EARLY CHILDHOOD, ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
HIGHER EDUCATION
AND WORKFORCE TRAINING

December 20, 2011
Mr. Darryl Perry

Dear Darryl,

Thank you for writing me to share your views on the detainee provisions in the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I appreciate hearing from you and I apologize for the delay in my response. I receive more than one thousand letters and e-mails in the average week and it often takes longer than I would like to respond personally to each one.

I too was worried about some of the provisions in the initial Senate bill. However, during the Conference process, many of those issues were addressed. Section 1021 of the NDAA does not create the possibility of indefinite detention, it merely codifies current law. The Authorization of the Use of Military Force does not grant the military wide authority to detain United States citizens. Instead, it permits the military to detain a United States citizen who has attacked or is planning to attack the United States, and is associated with Al Qaeda. This authority is permissive, not mandatory. The bill ensures that any US citizen detained would be allowed to challenge the legality of the detention under habeas corpus, and they will have access to a lawyer and due process. To ensure the transparency of this rarely used authority (the Obama Administration has not detained any US citizens in the United States under AUMF authority), the military must notify Congress of anyone detained under this authority, including US citizens.

It is also important to note that current law is unsettled. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of military detention of US citizens pursuant to the AUMF. To date, the AUMF authority to detain US citizens by the military in the United States has only been used twice, both under the Bush Administration. As stated above, the Obama Administration has not yet used this authority.

The issue of justice for terrorist suspects is one that has been debated since 9/11. The FY12 NDAA does not significantly change current laws regarding these suspects. I believe we do need to formulate a comprehensive law that allows us to bring the detainees to justice in accordance with the principles our country stands for. Not doing so will ultimately harm our image with the world and could contribute to terrorist recruitment efforts in the future.

Again, thank you for writing to share your perspective on such an important matter. As your representative, I both need and value your thoughts and ideas. Please sign up for my E-Newsletter on my website, www.house.gov/susandavis, if you would like to receive monthly updates about what is happening in Congress.

With warm regards,

SUSAN A. DAVIS
Member of Congress

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