The House voted 283-136 to pass the 2012 defense authorization bill on Wednesday that contains controversial provisions requiring military detention for some terrorism suspects. The Obama administration, which had threatened to veto the massive $662 billion defense bill over the detainee provisions, announced it would support the bill. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and head to President Obama’s desk this week.
The bill requires military custody for suspects linked to al-Qaida or its affiliates, even if they are captured in the U.S., with an exemption for American citizens and lawful resident aliens. House and Senate leaders made some changes during conference committee to assuage the administration’s concerns, adding “assurances” it would not affect existing criminal enforcement and national security waivers of the FBI or any other domestic law enforcement agency. They also gave the president the authority to waive the military-detention provisions.
The new "language does not challenge or constrain the president’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
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