It’s not everyday that a key Obama appointee addresses the conservative Heritage Foundation, but that’s exactly what’s happening tomorrow as the Pentagon’s chief legal officer, Jeh Johnson, will speak at the think tank.
Johnson, who played a highly instrumental role in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, will address an audience at the Heritage Foundation on the topic of detainee legislation--a topic where he seemingly has a contradictory record.
Johnson has been a key figure in attempting to assist President Obama’s unfulfilled promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. At the same time, he was the center of controversy for stating that the administration has a right to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely, even if the individual had been acquitted in a civil or military trial.
However, since 9/11, Congress and the courts have worked to define detainee rights and the limitations on the executive branch when it comes to detainees, with particular emphasis on Guantanamo.
In tomorrow’s Heritage event, “Is More Detainee Legislation Needed?,” Johnson will address some of the proposed legislation on deck:
Now, the House and Senate have proposed additional detainee-related legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Both have provisions affirming the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Other provisions include the requirement of mandatory military custody for captured terrorists, restrictions on transfers from Guantanamo Bay, post-habeas periodic military review procedures and other such restrictions.
Is this legislation necessary, and if so, why? Does it unnecessarily restrict the Commander-in-Chief in the disposition of wartime captives? Do these provisions advance the strategic interests of the United States, and if so, how? Which provisions make policy sense, and which do not?