Football, it is said, is a game of inches. And anyone who has played the game can tell you that a rush up the middle for three yards is usually more valuable than a 60-yard bomb that is almost caught for a touchdown.
In the case of the recently passed (and much maligned) Feinstein-Lee Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), spokesmen for Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) see the measure they co-sponsored as a successful movement of the ball a little farther down the field toward the goal of restoring due process to all persons.
In an exclusive conversation with The New American, Doug Stafford, chief of staff for Senator Paul, and Rob Porter, general counsel for the office of Senator Lee, defended the Feinstein-Lee Amendment as a step in the right direction, though admitting that it did not go nearly as far as either lawmaker would prefer.
“Colored by our experience with the due process amendment to the NDAA we offered in 2012, we knew that we would have nowhere near the number of votes needed to pass an amendment that guaranteed due process for all persons detained under the NDAA,” Stafford explained.
Both men reiterated that they recognize that the Feinstein-Lee Amendment was not the ideal attack on the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. Senators Lee and Paul believe, the spokesmen assured The New American, that “the full panoply of due process rights should apply to all persons, not just American citizens.”
Why, then, the choice to restrict their protections to citizens and permanent legal residents?
In a word: strategy.
“We spent a year,” Stafford said, “convincing about a dozen Republicans that a vote for this amendment would not be a vote for terrorism.”
Until the vote was taken, neither Lee nor Paul knew whether they had the votes necessary to make even this intermediate step toward restoration of constitutional due process.
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