Obama Signs Defense Bill Despite 'Reservations'

President questions provisions about treatment of suspected terrorists
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 31, 2011 5:42 PM CST

(Newser) – President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law today despite having "serious reservations" about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists. The bill also applies penalties against Iran's central bank in an effort to hamper Tehran's ability to fund its nuclear enrichment program. The Obama administration is looking to soften the impact of those penalties because of concerns that they could lead to a spike in global oil prices or cause economic hardship on US allies that import petroleum from Iran.

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In a statement accompanying his signature, the president chastised some lawmakers for what he contended was their attempts to use the bill to restrict the ability of counter-terrorism officials to protect the country. But the White House secured some last-minute changes, like the striking of a provision that would have eliminated executive branch authority to use civilian courts for trying terrorism cases against foreign nationals. Obama's signature caps months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating Americans' constitutional rights. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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