Defense Bill Could Allow Rendition of Americans

President would be able to send terrorist suspects anywhere he wants
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2011 11:20 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama has signaled that he will sign a defense bill this week that includes language giving him broad powers to indefinitely detain terror suspects—including, many legal analysts believe, American citizens. Now, Mother Jones has spotted another charming provision in the bill that would allow the rendition of terror suspects—which again, may include Americans—"to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity." That, explains Nick Baumann, "means that if the president determines you're a member of al-Qaeda ... he could order you to be handed over to the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Yemenis..."

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Some legal experts have argued that the bill merely codifies powers that George W. Bush and Obama already claimed in the war on terror. But enshrining those powers in law makes them “a much more permanent fixture of the US justice system,” says one lawyer with a human rights group. Washington already has a program in which it encourages other countries to capture and interrogate US-born terrorists abroad, so that it needn’t dirty its hands with them. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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