Supporters of the measure and the White House are doing their best to downplay the National Defense Authorization Bill's most damaging provisions, but the plain language of it defies the twisted logic being employed to talk us out of believing what we can read for ourselves.
Regarding the provision allowing the military to detain people indefinitely, the bill says in Section 1021(c) , "Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which is the same AUMF that was initially passed by Congress in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks."
Further down in Section 1022, the bill doesn't specifically exempt U.S. citizens from said indefinite detention. The provision "does not contain the broad disclaimer regarding U.S. citizens that 1021 contains. Instead, it simply says that the requirement of military detention does not apply to U.S. citizens, but it does not exclude U.S. citizens from the authority, the option, to hold them in military custody," writes Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com.
The bill also expands the original AUMF by significantly expanding "the statutory definitions of the War on Terror and those who can be targeted as part of it," Greenwald writes.
The language of the provisions is extremely vague and likely purposefully so, in order to muddle the translation to make it mean whatever the commander-in-chief wants it to mean. It's the same sort of manufactured legal standing the administration adopted when it justified the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and suspected al Qaeda leader, without the benefit of a trial.
It's understandable to doubt that any U.S. administration could ever support the use of the military in rounding up American citizens and being permitted to detain them indefinitely, but plain as day, that's what the language in the new NDAA says. And no amount of spin-doctoring can change the fact that we've entered a new and dangerous place in our country, when we seem ready to surrender our constitutional rights and protections in the name of "national security.