At a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing this morning, Senator Lee questioned FBI Director Mueller on the potential for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Director Mueller agreed that the government should not be allowed to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge or trial.
Senator Lee explained that although the current administration has stated it will not detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial, legislation is essential to ensure that this administration does not change its policy and that such detention does not occur in future administrations. Senator Lee is an original co-sponsor of The Due Process Guarantee Act (S.2003), which provides: “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.” The bill currently has 29 cosponsors in the Senate.
At the hearing today, Senator Lee also expressed concerns about the broad categories of surveillance authorized by the 2008 Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Senator Lee noted the importance of ensuring that FISA not be used for unwarranted surveillance of U.S. citizens. As Congress considers reauthorizing the FISA Amendments, Senator Lee will continue to work to ensure that the constitutional rights and civil liberties of Americans are protected.