Although part of this story is this a couple months old, it’s never too late to demonstrate a failure of government, and offer a remedy at the same time.
On New Years’ Eve, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which contained language permitting the U.S. Military to operate on American soil and to indefinitely detain citizens without trial.
This was “Born Fightin’” Senator Jim Webb’s response to an email asking him to oppose the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
Ultimately, Sen. Webb of course voted Aye on final passage, and in so doing, he turned his back on a clear violation of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments, in addition to the Posse Comitatus Act, to say nothing of his Oath of Office. Make sure to read his response in its entirety… it’s hard to take, but worth it. Keep in mind while reading, his counterpart, Senator Mark Warner also voted Aye, and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed this Bill as well.
December 20, 2011
Thank you for contacting my office regarding sections in the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867) pertaining to the authority and conditions under which the Armed Forces of the United States may detain suspects. I appreciate your sharing your views with me on this important matter.
I share your concerns with these provisions. There are serious constitutional issues at play regarding broadly-defined military operations inside the United States, and there is a long and uncomfortable history among other countries that have taken this kind of approach.
We need to be very clear. We must very narrowly define how the military would be used and–quite frankly–if it should be used at all inside our borders. I would note that my concerns in this regard were almost universally shared by our nation’s military, law enforcement and intelligence leadership.
It is for this reason that I cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senator Udall which would have stripped these provisions from the bill, and instead require a joint report from the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General regarding the appropriate role of the Armed Forces of the United States in detention and prosecution. Unfortunately, this amendment was defeated by a vote of 38-60.
As your representative in the Senate and in my role on the Senate Armed Services Committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate continues to debate military detention policy. Your correspondence helps me serve you better in the Senate. I hope that you will continue to share your views with me and my staff in the future.
I would also invite you to visit my website at www.webb.senate.gov for regular updates about my activities and positions on matters that are important to Virginia and our nation.
Thank you once again for contacting my office.
Sincerely, Jim Webb
United States Senator
So to summarize, Senator Webb recognized the threatening nature of this bill, even co-sponsored an amendment to strip the most dangerous parts. Yet, when the amendment failed, he still voted for passage. This represents a TOTAL FAIL!
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with having said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Thank goodness, Jim Webb is serving the last few months of his term.
Now flash forward to today, where a piece of legislation directly addresses that which Senator Webb and others in Congress failed to do.
HB 1160, has now passed the Virginia House of Delegates by a vote of 96-4. It says:
Unlawful detention of United States citizens. Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.
Resistance is not futile fellow Patriots… We can regain Liberty lost, but it takes tremendous commitment and relentless effort. Now we need a Virginia Senator to take up this fight.
Paging Ralph Smith…
President, Roanoke Tea Party