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Surveillance State: Appeals Court Says Obama Administration Can Indefinitely Detain Americans

Yet another worrisome expansion of executive powers.
 
 
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In news that is sure to make Obama's critics worry, and Obama's most ardent supporters also worry, the administration has won the latest (of surely many) round regarding granting it the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens and foreigners suspected of being affiliated with terrorist syndicates, all under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Congress has also granted the president authority to arrest and hold suspects without due process under the NDAA—a privilege the president said, in a signing statement, that he will not be abusing. 

The indefinite detention provision of the NDAA faced a federal lawsuit, brought by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and others. The plaintiffs had previously be successful in convincing the federal district judge to keep such executive power from being signed into the books. But an Apeals court has now overturned that lower-court decision, saying that Hedges and his cohorts have no standing in the case. 

This is, for many, is considered yet another big push away from the more liberal-minded policies that President Obama was sworn into office upholding, and another serious blow to civil liberties from an administration that has raised the ante on domestic surveillance. Though the administration is adamant that only in cases of extreme necessity would a citizen be held without due process, Obama's history with Guantanamo Bay—not closing it as he promised, and indefinitely detaining its prisoners—as well as his decision to stand behind the gargantuan domestic-spying program Prism are worrisome indicators of more abuse of executive power. 

Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.

 
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