White House repeats threat to veto US defense bill

A Guantanamo detainee runs inside an exercise
area at the detention facility
© AFP/POOL/File Michelle Shephard

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House on Friday reaffirmed its threat to veto the Pentagon budget after the Senate passed a funding bill that requires military detention for terrorism suspects and indefinite detention without trial in some cases.

White House spokesman Jay Carney accused the Senate of engaging in “political micromanagement” by including provisions that he said would restrict US flexibility in the fight against Al-Qaeda.

“Any bill that challenges or constrains the president’s critical authority to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the nation will prompt his senior advisors to recommend a veto,” Carney said.

The provisions were in a $660 billion 2012 defense bill that passed the Senate on Thursday in a 93-7 vote.

It would require that terrorism suspects be held by the military, and either be tried by US military commissions or in some cases be held indefinitely.

The White House sees the provisions as a constraint on the administration’s ability to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the United States, try them in civilian court, or even transfer them to foreign countries.

“Counterterrorism officials from the Republican and Democratic administrations as you know have said that the language in this bill would jeopardize the national security by restricting flexibility in our fight against Al-Qaeda,” Carney said.

“By ignoring these non-partisan recommendations, including the recommendations of the secretary of defense, the director of the FBI, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, the Senate has unfortunately engaged in a little political micromanagement at the expense of sensible national security policy,” he added.

© AFPPublished at Activist Post with license

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