Feinstein, Lee introduce Amendment to NDAA to protect civil liberties

L to R: Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
L to R: Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. | Image composite St. George News

WASHINGTON D.C. – Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday that would protect American citizens from being indefinitely detained.

The amendment, which is cosponsored by several other Republican and Democratic senators, uses essentially the same language as the Due Process Guarantee Act, which Feinstein and Lee introduced last year. The language of the amendment assures that no authorization to use military force, war declaration, or any similar authority would allow an American apprehended in the United States to be held without charge or trial.

During a discussion of their amendment on the Senate floor today, Sen. Lee said, “Senator Feinstein and I have worked closely together over the course of the past year to craft what we believe represents a very prudent course in protecting both our nation and our liberties at the same time. Security is important, and precisely because it’s important, it must not be acquired at the expense of our individual liberty. It may well be said that government’s most important basic responsibility is to protect the liberties of its citizens. Our nation has fought wars on American soil and around the world in defense of individual liberty.  And we must not sacrifice this most fundamental right in pursuit of greater security, especially when we can achieve security without compromising liberty. The Feinstein-Lee amendment does precisely that.

“We must stand behind our 225-year-old founding document as it’s been amended to ensure our liberty isn’t taken away from us, to give us a path to providing for our security without jeopardizing the freedom that our American citizens cherish so much and have fought so hard and so long to protect. Granting the United States government the power to deprive its own citizens of life, liberty, or property without full due process of law goes against the very nature of our nation’s great constitutional values. This amendment, the Feinstein-Lee amendment, protects those values.”

On the floor, Feinstein said, “I want to be very clear about what this amendment is and what it’s not about. It’s not about whether citizens such as (Yaser Esam) Hamdi and (Jose) Padilla or others who would do us harm should be captured, interrogated, incarcerated and severely punished. They should be. But, what about an innocent American? What about someone in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the wrong skin color?

“The beauty of our Constitution is that it gives everyone in the United States basic due process rights to a trial by a jury of their peers. That is what makes this nation great. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the plurality in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, ‘(A)s critical as the government’s interest may be in detaining those who actually pose an immediate threat to the national security of the United States during ongoing international conflict, history and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means for oppression and abuse of others who do not present that sort of threat.’

“The federal government experimented with indefinite detention of United States citizens during World War II, a mistake we now recognize as a betrayal of our core values. Let’s not repeat it.”

(report continues below the video)

The amendment is also sponsored by Senators Paul, R-Ky., Coons, D. Del., Collins, R. Maine, Lautenberg, D-N.J., Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kirk, D-Ill., Tester, D-Mont., Johnson, D-S.D., Sanders, I-Vt., Whitehouse, D-R.I., Baucus, D-Mont., and Heller, R-Nev.

Submitted by the offices of Sen. Mike Lee

UPDATE Nov. 30, 2012:  This Amendment passed the Senate on Nov. 29, 2012. The report, which includes a copy of the signed Amendment at the following link: In defense of liberty, Feinstein-Lee Amendment to NDAA passes

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  • Jon L. Ruesch November 29, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Thanks for being a careful guard of rights. Nobody has the right to do a wrong, including the U.S. Government.

  • Fred November 29, 2012 at 6:00 am

    It’s abut time. Senator Lee is to be commended

    • ken November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Lee is just an azzclown obstructionist…commended him for that!

  • Jim Bryant November 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I have serious doubts as to the commitment of Lee and Feinstein to matters of National Security, particularly Internal Security. With the talk of Secession, and more commonly Insurrection, once the shooting begins, this is a moot point, as those in Insurrection are no longer considered citizens, and I will personally boil a few, Uzbeki style, to obtain names of co-conspirators, and feed them in soup to the prisoners awaiting interrogation and the soup bowls (Insurrectionists don’t rate any other kind of meat). So, Teagaggers, you can play this game now, and protect al-Qaida’s propaganda minister (why do Republicans love al-Qaida so much?) who is an American from being a military target, but the moment you give up on secession and start shooting at me and my family, laws don’t mean crap, we won’t wait for the military to show up, we will protect our families and communities, and prevent further attacks, and we have never heard of the Geneva Convention or the Convention Against Torture. Think twice before starting a civil war, Teagaggers. We’ve been preparing for several years now, and feel ready to respond once you start shooting. You gave us ample reason to prepare, and we have.

  • Jim Bryant November 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Start a Civil War, Teagaggers, and you WILL end up PRAYING for the UNITED NATIONS to come and save you from us, and we won’t want them around, because we will be as dirty as you. And what’s this crap floating around in your cesspool of a mind right now about FEMA camps? Insurrectionists don’t rate a hotel stay at a FEMA camp. The price of Insurrection, and support, either material or moral, is simply summary execution. Case closed on the FEMA camps. Simply feed an Insurrectionist, and we’ll kill you, after they start shooting at us.

  • Jim Bryant November 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Now that you have a dose of reality, based on the current rhetoric of the right, and the response that WILL happen if that comes to pass, how do Indefinite Detentions sound to you now?

  • Jim Bryant November 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Welcome to The Age of the Pissed Off Liberal. We are making the Teagaggers look like the treasonous british-loyalist(*) loving one-tooth third grade dropout pussies they really are.

    (* We live in an amazing age. Petabytes of scanned rare books, letters, phamplets, etc from the revolutionary war period. The “Tea Party” today quite literally takes the views of the British Loyalists. Read it yourselves! Get educated!)

    • Robb Willie November 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      In what age were liberals NOT pissed off? Mebee build myself a time machine…

  • Karen November 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Just when it seems Mike Lee has done something that makes sense, he goes off the deep end into conspiracy theories. He now opposes a UN resolution that encourages other countries to make changes to their laws to pattern them after the US Disabilities Act. It requires nothing of the United States. Mike appears to be afraid of some vast UN conspiracy to interfer with the US in some imagined ways. Never mind that the US has successfully ignored everything about the UN for decades. He is making Utah look ridiculous yet again.

    • Jim Bryant November 30, 2012 at 11:04 am

      He’s just fueling the fire for the Insurrectionists, they checked out from reality years ago. Based on my research, he’ll have advance knowledge of the civil war from his buddies who will start it.

      I wonder if it will be an 1860 style mass walkout from the Capital in DC? If not, maybe CIA should pay him a visit when the Teagaggers start shooting Americans. If that happens, we can’t have them in Government.

  • carigis November 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    jim bryant… you sound like a moron…seek help.

    • Jim Bryant November 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      So many of you are on record. It’s going to be fun when you start shooting, to see the surprise on your faces when you see how many of us were paying attention to your threats of Insurrection for the past several years, cumulating in promises even from your elected leaders that there will be an Insurrection if you guys lose. Google it. Watch the videos on Youtube of your hillbilly idiots.

      When the shooting starts, we dump the lists of you guys to everyone, hell, the guy two houses down from my place was waving his guns around threatening Insurrection too. He’s on the list as well.

      You need to take your Thorazine and put on your foil hat to protect yourself from “Agenda 21″…

      You are calling whom what?

      What is your problem with Indefinite Detentions? When your buddies start shooting, as they promised, it might just save their lives. (yours too?)

      How do you feel about a targeted drone strike on al-Qaida’s propaganda minister? I like the idea. What do you have against it? Why do you Republicans have such a problem with it?

      How do you feel about locking away someone who goes to war against the United States without trial? Do you feel that they are entitled to their citizenship and the rights thereof if they go to war against the United States? That is what this is all about, and Teagaggers are the only ones threatening such things. Is that why you don’t like the idea? Do you want them to succeed? What are YOUR loyalties? I’ll call you a f’ing TRAITOR.

    • Jim Bryant November 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      Do you worship McVeigh and Nichols? Do you agree with their BBS rants? If you listen to talk radio, you probably do.

  • blues singer November 30, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Is there a House version of this bill yet?

  • OH November 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I was told over and over and over by my Senator that the Feinstein ammendment in 2012 supposedly protected Americans already, dont worry you paranoid leftist the Feinstein ammendment protects Americans already – now Feinstein is talking about how she isnt already protecting Americans – talking about an ammendment that is supposed to protect Americans who were already suppoesdly protected, and the new lie in our face ammendment makes an exception that the 2002 AUMF lets the dictator do whatever he wants.

    • Jim Bryant November 30, 2012 at 10:45 am


      You are the reason I am against this. Are you so far into the Twilight Zone that you actually believe that this is a dictatorship?

      When are you going to start shooting, and how many Americans do you intend to kill?

  • Bebo December 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm


    • Joyce Kuzmanic December 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      One might think, Bebo. But no.

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