Monday, December 8, 2014

Morgan Griffith on Civil Liberties

From Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter...and I'd like to encourage readers to visit his web site, because this week he's discussed a couple of other topics (which I don't feel qualified to discuss here) that will interest Virginia readers. 

"Protecting Civil Liberties

Each year, Congress considers the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which primarily specifies budgeting for the Department of Defense.  However, although the NDAA does include some good provisions, I am of the belief that it fails to adequately protect our civil liberties.

The law says if you give assistance to a terrorist, you can be held indefinitely by the military against your constitutional rights.  Note it doesn’t stipulate that you know that person is a terrorist.

In theory, under the current system, you could be held indefinitely for having a new neighbor over for dinner or for assisting them with changing a tire, even if you are unaware of that person’s alleged involvement with or connection to al-Qaeda and associated forces.  While not specifically defined, those probably include groups on the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations List.

Of course, people push back on this, saying, “Well, they wouldn’t actually detain you for something like this.”  But if that’s so, why not provide clarity in the law so it requires someone to knowingly give assistance to a terrorist or terrorist organization?

If I am to err, I will err on the side of liberty.  Because it lacks language that clearly protects our freedom, as in past years, I opposed this bill.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office by email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. "