NDAA – Letter to Senator Scott Brown – His Reply – My Response
I write you today in the hope that you will change course and oppose the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.
When we talk about the brave men and women who have given their lives for “our country” what does “our country” mean? “Our country” is another way of saying our freedoms. Our country, America, is an idea, an ideology that is articulated in our constitution. What brave men and women have given their lives for you are about to give a way for a threat. What other countries could not take with guns you will give a way with a pen swipe. I beg you not to allow this. Even if an attack occurs tomorrow my opinion will not change. We can’t allow fear to take from us what we have fought so hard to have. If we must live with terror and/or die from terror it is a price I would much rather pay than giving what is unalienably ours, what no man or government can rightfully take. Your oath is to defend the Constitution, your oath means that you will guarantee our rights. I would ask that you do the most important thing you were elected to do, protect our freedom, our rights from enemies both foreign and domestic.
Senator Brown Responds with what I assume is a automated letter:
Thank you for contacting me regarding Sections 1031 and 1032 of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (S. 1253). As always, I value your input and appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, the FY 2012 NDAA was introduced by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) on June 22, 2011. Regarding your specific concerns, Section 1031 would authorize the military to detain individuals who support al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces and who are engaged in hostilities against the United States. Section 1032 would permit the military to place under its custody terrorists who are affiliated with al Qaeda and are actively planning to attack the United States. To be clear, and as Senators Levin and John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, noted recently, Section 1032 applies “only to members of al Qaeda and its affiliates, like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. . . . And it only applies to members of al Qaeda and its affiliates who are captured in a very narrow set of circumstances: those captured attacking the U.S. or its coalition allies, or attempting, or planning such an attack.”
I, along with an overwhelming majority of my committee colleagues, voted in favor of Sections 1031 and 1032 during the Armed Services Committee’s consideration of the FY 2012 NDAA, which received overwhelming bipartisan support and now awaits action by the full Senate. Unfortunately, on October 4, 2011, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wrote a letter to Senators Levin and McCain outlining his refusal to bring S. 1253 to the floor until Sections 1031 and 1032 were stripped from the bill. Subsequently, he withdrew this demand and agreed to let the legislative process move forward. Legislation as important as the defense authorization bill—which was favorably and unanimously reported to the Senate by the entire Armed Services Committee—should not be held captive. I am hopeful that the full Senate will debate the NDAA as soon as possible, as this legislation is critical to our national security mission, our troops and their families.
I understand your concerns regarding Sections 1031 and 1032 of the FY 2012 NDAA. As we continue to combat terrorism around the world and fight extremists on the battlefields in Afghanistan, it is important to have a judicial system in place to bring these suspects to justice. However, allowing detainees suspected of supporting terrorist activities to be tried in civilian courts in the United States jeopardizes the security of the city in which the trials would be held and would award detainees the same rights as U.S. citizens, hindering the government’s ability to bring these enemy combatants to justice. To mitigate these concerns, the Guantanamo Military Commission was created to give fair and meaningful trials to unlawful enemy combatants housed at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
One of my priorities is to ensure that all American citizens are protected from terrorist attacks, and that America remains strong and secure. As a member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, I am actively engaged with my colleagues in reviewing our policy for the War on Terror. Foreign terrorist organizations have demonstrated their willingness to kill innocent civilians. The nature of war is changing, and I believe it is critical to homeland security that our laws and policies reflect that.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. As the legislative process moves forward, I will keep your views in mind. Should you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or visit my website at www.scottbrown.senate.gov.
Scott P. Brown
United States Senator
I respond and as of now he has not replied
I greatly appreciate your taking the time to respond to my email. It says a lot that you would reply especially since your other colleagues from Massachusetts failed to do so. However I am greatly disappointed that you not only support the NDAA but that you would so easily ignore your oath of office to protect and PRESERVE the Constitution. I must believe that either you have been mislead or you place far greater value on the words of Mr. McCain and Levin the I. A simple solution to the concerns so many Americans have with the NDAA as written is to specifically exclude US Citizens on US soil. Simply saying that it doesn’t include American citizens is not enough. If what McCain and Levin say is true then adding the language to alleviate us of our fears should be something you and your colleagues would quickly and willingly act to do. The ability to be labeled a terrorist and subject to NDAA has already been largely established. Congress has already provided guidance on whom might be suspected as, considered, a terrorist. Some characteristics include but are not limited to the following: – someone who is missing fingers, someone who has guns, someone who has ammunition that is weatherproof, someone having more than 7 days of food on hand is a suspect, a potential terrorist. The NDAA, as currently written, would allow such suspects to be taken and put in indefinite detention. You need only be a suspect, not someone who has actually done anything. This is a chilling violation of due-process. Enacting a law that will declare, “the entire United States a battlefield for the military” is fear mongering and dangerous. Allowing insertion of the army into domestic law enforcement is nothing short of a police state. As written, the bill essentially says the President of the United States can arrest whoever he wants anywhere he wants inside the US and keep them without charging them for a crime, without letting them speak to an attorney, without bringing them in front of a judge, and he can do so for as long as he wants. This nullification of due-process in effect suspends the rule of law. This law gives unabridged power to the government which it now can wield without restraint. I pray you don’t become the next George Hansen, former 7 term Congressman from Idaho. His political enemies destroyed him for taking on the IRS. If this law had been in place during his tenure he likely would not have be heard of again, and certainly not exonerated as he was in 1995 after 11 years of false imprisonment.
You state that Levin and McCain have said this law applies “only to members of al Qaeda and its affiliates, like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. . . . And it only applies to members of al Qaeda and its affiliates who are captured in a very narrow set of circumstances: those captured attacking the U.S. or its coalition allies, or attempting, or planning such an attack.”
As mentioned earlier if that is the case than they should simply write that into the bill. The fact that Senator Lindsay Graham said quote “The homeland is part of the battlefield and people can be held without trial whether an American or not” does not provide any confidence that Americans should take Mr. Levin or McCain at their word. The fact that the committee hearings on this bill were done in secret provides additional reason to question the truthfulness of McCain and Levin. I’m assuming you are aware that the constitution (which you swore to protect) requires that the Congress do these things in public. In fact there were originally no hearings, a few Senators got together in secret and wrote the bill.
This congressional authorization goes far beyond the Patriot Act as it states that “ANY person who substantially supports Al Quida, the Taliban or associated forces undefined, including any person who commits a BELLIGERENT act would be allowed to be picked up by US Military Authority and held in US Military Detention” This is not exclusive to “outside” the United States but can and will be applied to US citizens “inside” the United States. As someone who took an OATH to uphold the constitution I would assume that you would take your direction as to whether you would vote yay or nay on this bill by reading it. The constitution says “IN the trial of ALL crimes there shall be a jury and the trial shall be held in the state where said crimes to have been committed”. In the case of treason the constitution states “it shall consist only of levying war against them or in adhering to their enemies giving aid and comfort. NO PERSON shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or upon confession in open court”. It further states that “when a person is charged with treason, a felony or other crime that person shall be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime”. The 4th amendment to the constitution states “the rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, effects against unreasonable searches and seizures SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED and NO warrants shall issue except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation”. Section 1031B2 of the NDAA bill does not have the requirement for a civilian judge to issue such a warrant thus directly violating the 4th amendment of the Constitution. The 5th amendment says “NO PERSON shall be held to answer for capital or otherwise infamous crime unless upon presentment and indictment of a grand jury” It goes on to make it clear that there is a separate jurisdiction ONLY for those in uniformed service of the United States. Anyone else is held to the NO PERSON category. The 6th amendment states “In ALL criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed”. In the 14th amendment it states “No state shall make or enforce ANY law that shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States.
Senator Brown you state in your letter “One of my priorities is to ensure that all American citizens are protected from terrorist attacks, and that America remains strong and secure.” Might I suggest that your MAIN priority and oath of office is to defend and protect the constitution of the United States. This bill, despite what you ask us to believe, essentially nullifies the Constitution. Again, you can remedy that by stating specifically in the bill that the language does not apply to US Citizens within the United States. The purpose of fighting terrorists is to defend the RIGHTS of United States citizens, to prevent an enemy from stripping us of who we are, that being a country of liberty, a country that is really an ideology articulated and guaranteed by our Constitution. If you nullify the Constitution we are no longer America and therefore we have already lost to the terrorists without a shot being fired. We will have lost who and what we are because YOU and others in Congress signed America away over fear of a potential, not yet existent, act of violence. That makes us cowards, that makes us failures to all who have actually faced violence and died for us. It is shameful that we would forfeit what and who we are over fear. FDR said “we have nothing to fear but fear itself”. Apparently you and Congress are so afraid that you would give up what is inalienably ours, what you have no right to give away. The Government does not grant us these birthrights indeed your most solemn oath and purpose is to guarantee them. The constitution was written to defend the people from a Government that might attempt to take away what is unalienable ours at birth. Congress has no right to give away what is ours by birth because of fear, regardless of threat, regardless of intent, regardless of concern. I agree, as your state, that “the nature of war has changed” but what must not change, regardless of what our enemies may profess to do, is who we are, what we believe, the very essence of what it means to be an American. If we fall there will be no one left standing and Liberty will once again be something future generations will hear about in whispers. There once was a great nation they will say, that fought and died for Liberty, for freedom, but they became lazy, fearful, and forgot how precious it was and so they lost it with out a fight for the security of slavery.
I am deeply saddened by your letter, your unwillingness to change you opinion and I fear that someday our children’s children will call what you and other members of Congress have done “The Day America Died”.