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HuffingtonPost: Why I Voted Against the National Defense Authorization Act

Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that includes provisions on detention that I found simply unacceptable. These provisions are inconsistent with the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the system our Founders established. And while I did in fact vote for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. That didn’t happen, and so I could not support the final bill.

Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that includes provisions on detention that I found simply unacceptable. These provisions are inconsistent with the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the system our Founders established. And while I did in fact vote for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. That didn’t happen, and so I could not support the final bill.

The bill that passed on Thursday included several problematic provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they’re captured in the U.S.

At their core, these provisions will radically alter how we investigate, arrest, and detain individuals suspected of terrorism. What’s more, they could undermine the safety of our troops stationed abroad, and they introduce new and unnecessary uncertainty into our counterterrorism efforts.

But before I get into the details of why I opposed these detainee provisions, I think it is important to recognize that September 11th irrevocably and unalterably changed our lives. I was in Minnesota that terrible day. A number of Minnesotans died — in the towers, in the air, and at the Pentagon. In New York in the months following the attacks, I attended the funerals of brave firefighters and law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives to help rescue Americans from the towers. I can’t shake those images from my mind, and I am guessing like many of you, I won’t ever be able to erase the horrors of September 11th from my head.

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